57 New Freshwater Fish Species Found in Europe

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 charr 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.

Continued on Next Page >>


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