57 New Freshwater Fish Species Found in Europe

This video from Denmark says about itself:

Denmark’s AQUA is the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe. It’s unique galleries include artificial lakes with side viewing glasses, which simulate typical lake ecosystems in Denmark.

This video serves as a guide of common European freshwater fish species that are found at AQUA. Four different environments are featured, including a polluted lake, a healthy lake, a typical Danish stream and the night environment.

From National Geographic News:

57 New Freshwater Fish Species Found in Europe

James Owen

November 14, 2007

Europe’s rivers and lakes boast at least 57 more freshwater fish species than previously thought, scientists have announced.

The new species were discovered during a seven-year assessment of the conservation status of freshwater fish in Europe that was conducted in collaboration with the World Conservation Union (IUCN).

The findings lengthen Europe’s list of freshwater fish to 522 species.

And the study authors say many more undescribed fish have been found or are suspected to exist, potentially taking the total number of confirmed species to 600 or higher.

“The new species come from all over” Europe, said co-author Jörg Freyhof of the Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin, Germany.

Freyhof and co-author Maurice Kottelat from Cornol, Switzerland, present their data in the Handbook of European Freshwater Fishes.

Data from the handbook, which was released in early November, also determined that more than a third of Europe’s 522 freshwater fish species are at risk of extinction and that 12 species are already extinct.

Close Scrutiny

The newly described species include the world’s smallest known cisco—a type of whitefish—that was found in Germany’s Lake Stechlin, north of Berlin.

The silvery pink fish, dubbed Coregonus fontanae, was found to be distinct from a much larger cisco species from the same lake.

Two new species of troutlike char were discovered in alpine lakes in Germany and Switzerland.

The study team also named eight new sculpin, a type of small, squat river fish often found under stones.

One of these freshly named species, Cottus perifretum, had been labeled as another European sculpin, Cottus gobio.

Yet the two species are relatively easy to tell apart, according to Freyhof.

“The skin of Cottus gobio is very smooth, but perifretum’s is like sandpaper,” he said.

“There are many molecular markers which also distinguish the two species.”

Harder to tell apart were members of a group of lake fish from Central and Eastern Europe called shemayas. But the study team was able to identify four new shemaya species.

“At first glance they appear like herrings—you really have to look at them in detail,” Freyhof said. …

According to Freyhof, the new freshwater species might have remained undiscovered for so long because until now scientists had not compared fish closely enough across countries’ boundaries.

For example, a newly discovered species of chub from Greece was long thought to be the same species as a chub living in Britain.

But the Grecian fish has black fins, while the British variety has orange fins.

“This color fades when the fish are preserved, so maybe a Greek scientist had seen a [British museum specimen] and so couldn’t see it didn’t have black fins,” Freyhof said.

The new Greek fish, called Squalius orpheus, is one of five previously unrecognized chub species identified by researchers during their search.

Fish species in North European prehistory: here.

3 thoughts on “57 New Freshwater Fish Species Found in Europe

  1. Freshwater herring had salty origin
    Press Release from PLoS ONE

    East Africa’s Lake Tanganyika has a highly diverse fauna which closely resembles marine animals. A researcher at the University of Zurich has traced the origins of the freshwater herring of the Lake to a marine invasion which occurred in West Africa 25 to 50 million years ago, coincident with a major oceanic incursion into the region. The ancient freshwater capture of marine organisms may help to explain the origins of other species unique to this Lake. The findings are published this week in the journal PLoS ONE.

    Lake Tanganyika in East Africa is the oldest of the African Great Lakes and has the highest diversity of endemic species of any lake in the region. Its unique marine-like crabs, shrimps, snails and fishes led early researchers to suggest that the Lake must have once been directly connected to the ocean. More recent geophysical reconstructions clearly show that Lake Tanganyika originated through rifting in the African continent and was never directly connected to the sea.

    While the history of the Lake basin is now well understood, the origins of the highly specialized and unique fauna of Lake Tanganyika have remained a puzzle. “The absence of closely-related species outside of Lake Tanganyika has made it extremely difficult to determine when the Lake was colonized and how much of its diversity arose within its borders”, explains Tony Wilson. As the herring of Lake Tanganyika belong to a large group of freshwater fishes distributed throughout western and southern Africa, they offer one of the best opportunities to trace the evolutionary ancestry of members of the Lake’s fauna.

    The analysis of DNA data by Wilson’s team allowed the construction of the evolutionary tree of African herring, which clearly shows that the herring of West Africa colonized freshwater 25 to 50 million years ago, at the time of a massive marine incursion in the region. These freshwater colonists subsequently spread across central Africa, reaching Lake Tanganyika in the early stages of its formation. “Although Lake Tanganyika was never directly connected to the ocean,” explains Wilson, “the endemic herring of the Lake are the products of a marine invasion that occurred long ago”. The extent of this marine incursion raises the possibility that other members of the endemic fauna of the Lake may also have marine origins.

    Prof. Tony Wilson, Zoological Museum, University of Zürich
    Tel: +41 44 635 4790
    Email: tony.wilson@zm.uzh.ch
    Web: http://www.zm.uzh.ch/agwilson



  2. Pingback: Saving sturgeons | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Barbels return to Dutch rivers | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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