In late July 2016, our Handbook of European freshwater fishes had been cited 1400 times since it was published in October 2007. More then many papers in Nature or Science!! This is something to be proud on!
Kottelat, M. & J. Freyhof. 2007. Handbook of European freshwater fishes. Publications Kottelat, Cornol, 646 pp.
The loaches of the genus Paraschistura are small, cryptic fishes widespread in the tributaries of the lower Tigris and in the rivers flowing to the Persian Gulf. We reviewed the Iranian species in detail and describe six new species.
Freyhof J., G. Sayyadzadeh, H. R. Esmaeili & M. Geiger, 2015. Review of the genus Paraschistura from Iran with description of six new species (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 26:1-48.
Almost all freshwater fish species of the Mediterranean Biodiversity Hotspot barcoded
Incomplete knowledge of biodiversity remains a stumbling block for conservation planning and even occurs within globally important Biodiversity Hotspots. Although technical advances have boosted the power of molecular biodiversity assessments, only North American and Australian freshwater fishes have been comprehensively barcoded to build up a reference library. Geiger et al. (2014) present an analysis of the first DNA barcode library for the freshwater fish fauna of the Mediterranean BH (526 spp.), with virtually complete species coverage (498 spp., 98% extant species). Overall, genetic morphological discontinuities suggest the existence of up to 64 previously unrecognized candidate species. The authors found reduced identification accuracy when using the entire DNA-barcode database, compared with analyses on databases for individual river catchments. This scale effect has important implications for barcoding assessments and suggests that fairly simple identification pipelines provide sufficient resolution in local applications. Geiger et al. (2014) calculated Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered scores in order to identify candidate species for conservation priority and argue that the evolutionary content of barcode data can be used to detect priority species for future IUCN assessments. Geiger et al. (2014) also present an up to date taxonomy of all species in the trees shown, suggest some taxonomic changes, revalidate several species and provide a new list of all Mediterranean freshwater fish species including a list of likely to be extinct species for the area. They also show that large-scale barcoding inventories of complex biotas are feasible and contribute directly to the evaluation of conservation priorities.
The paper is available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1755-0998.12257/pdf
Olease check also the associated materials!!
New Valencia from Greece: Likely to be Critically Endangered and a high ranked EDGE species
The killifishes oft he family Valenciidae are the only fish family endemic Europe and the Mediterranean basin, and the recent description of a new member brings the total number of species to three. This trio forms the family’s only genus Valencia and all members are Critically-Endangered with very restricted natural ranges within which they have been subjected to extensive habitat degradation and competition with introduced species. Valencia hispanica is found only in a handful of localities along the Mediterranean coastline of Spain and V. letourneuxi occurs in few sites in northwestern Greece and southern Albania. Geiger et al. (2014) have calculated the EDGE scores for almost all Mediterranean freshwater fishes and Valencia’s represent the species with the highest EDGE scores. This means, that Valencia’s are within the group of species with the highest conservation priority if we follow the philosophy of EDGE. Valencia robertae immediately joins this group and makes the conservation situation for V. letourneuxi even worse, as one of the most important populations has now been split from this species. Valencia robertae was known from three sites but is actually known with certainty only from the lower Mornos River in mainland Greece. It is already extirpated in the Alfios River and might be extirpated at the type locality at the lower Pinios River in Peloponnes and the species is indeed described based on captive fishes from a stock collected in the 1990th.
For further information refer to the full, open access paper: Freyhof, J., H. Kärst and M. Geiger, 2014. Valencia robertae, a new killifish from southern Greece (Cyprinodontiformes: Valenciidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters v. 24 (no. 4): 289-298.
Nemacheilid loaches are still poorly known and many new species have been described in the last decades. Turcinoemacheilus have been recorded only a few times and records came from the Euphrates-Tigris drainage and all were identified as T. kosswigi. In 2011, a new species was described from the Himalaya demonstrating a much wider distribution range of the genus. In the Iranian Tigris basin, recent field investigations revealed that two ‘types’ of Turcinoemacheilus occur sometimes even in sympatry. Both ‘types’ can be immediately differentiated by colour patterns. A close examination of these ‘types’ revealed that they represent two new species, one of them is described as T. hafezi by Golzarianpour et al. (2013) and the other as T. saadii by Esmaeili et al. (2014). While working with the materials, it became clear, that two more new species are involved, described now by Esmaeili et al. (2014) as T. bahaii from the Iranian endorheic Zayandeh River and T. minimus from the upper Euphrates in Turkey.
Golzarianpour, K., A. Abdoli, R. Patimar and J. Freyhof 2013. Turcinoemacheilus hafezi, a new loach from the Zagroz Mountains, Iran (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 24: 41-48.
Esmaeili, H. R., Sayyadzadeh, G., Özuluğ, M., Geiger, M. & Freyhof, J. 2014. Three new species of Turcinoemacheilus from Iran and Turkey (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters, 24: 257-273.
Only Critically Endangered freshwater fish species of North Africa likely to be extinct in the wild
Mahmoud Bacha & Jörg Freyhof
The freshwater biodiversity of North Africa has been assessed against the IUCN Red List criteria in 2010 (García et al., 2010). With 27 % threatened freshwater fish species, their status is surprizingly good for such an arid area. Only one species, Aphanius saourensis, had been assessed as Critically Endangered.
Aphanius saourensis from a captive population
Aphanius saourensis is endemic to the Oued Saoura basin in the Algerian Sahara. Once it might have been widespread throughout the basin, but when it was last time found in 2004, only one remnant population (near Mazzer) had remained. When the species was described in 2006 (Blanco et al., 2006), it was already mentioned that “The presence of introduced North American Gambusia sp. poses a serious threat, with current densities of Gambusia to Aphanius being more than 100 to one. Excessive ground water withdrawal for agricultural purposes, the drying of wetlands, and water pollution are, along with the introduced Gambusia, the major threats to the survival of this species. Its survival is unlikely in the wild, but a small captive breeding program is underway“. In 2013, the German Killifish Association (DKG) in collaboration with Jörg Freyhof (IUCN FFSG chair the European Region) funded a small project to support Mahmoud Bacha and Chabane Benamirouche from Algeria to search again for the species at its type locality and other waterbodies in the Oued Saoura. Mahmoud and his team spent five days in the area and checked the type locality and all adjacent water bodies but with depressing results only. Beside Gambusia holbrooki, only alien tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) could be found. This is the third extinct freshwater fish species in the Maghreb. There was no trace of the Aphanius. Naturally, a negative record is difficult to make and there might be still the chance to re-discover the species in the wild. But based on the actual results, we should treat the captive stock, which exist in some European countries, in a way as if the wild population would be gone. The next question is, if the Aphanius could be re-introduced to the wild? As its extinction in the wild was caused by the impact of alien species, these must be removed from the future re-introduction site. This might be a real challenge, even in a dry area as the Algerian Sahara. It should be noted, that there are at least four more North African species which might be at the very brink of extinction: Aphanius apodus, Barbus reinii, Ptercapoeta maroccana and Salaria atlantica. These have not been assessed yet or have been assessed as Data Deficient, as no data were available from the poorly known area. More detailed fieldwork is urgently needed to search for them, not to discover in some years, that they are also just gone extinct.
Blanco, J. L., Hrbek, T. & Doadrio, I. 2006. A new species of the genus Aphanius (Nardo, 1832) (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontidae) from Algeria. Zootaxa, 1158: 39 – 53.
García, N., Cuttelod, A. & Abdul Malak, D. 2010. The status and distribution of freshwater biodiversity in Northern Africa. Gland, Switzerland, Cambridge, UK, and Malaga, Spain : IUCN, xiii+141pp.
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