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Freshwater Fish Distribution
     

Freshwater Fish Distribution

by Tim M. Berra
 

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With more than 29,000 species, fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet. Of that number, more than 12,000 species are found in freshwater ecosystems, which occupy less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain only 2.4 percent of plant and animal species. But, on a hectare-for-hectare basis, freshwater ecosystems are richer in

Overview

With more than 29,000 species, fishes are the most diverse group of vertebrates on the planet. Of that number, more than 12,000 species are found in freshwater ecosystems, which occupy less than 1 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain only 2.4 percent of plant and animal species. But, on a hectare-for-hectare basis, freshwater ecosystems are richer in species than more extensive terrestrial and marine habitats. Examination of the distribution patterns of fishes in these fresh waters reveals much about continental movements and climate changes and has long been critical to biogeographical studies and research in ecology and evolution.

Tim Berra’s seminal resource, Freshwater Fish Distribution,maps the 169 fish families that swim in fresh water around the world. Each family account includes the class, subclass, and order; a pronunciation guide to the family name; life cycle information; and interesting natural history facts. Each account is illustrated, many with historical nineteenth-century woodcuts.

Now available in paperback, this heavily cited work in ichthyology and biogeography will serve as a reference for students, a research support for professors, and a helpful guide to tropical fish hobbyists and anglers.

Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of Fish Biology

"Whoever is looking for an overview on the distribution areas of freshwater fish families will find practical advice in this book . . . for a reasonable price."

— Harro Hieronimus

JNABS

"The author states the book was intended to be a reference for students, teachers, ichthyologists, zoogeographers and to other piscatorial aficionados, such as anglers and aquarists. Aquatic biologists, fish biologists, and fisheries biologists should have been included because all will find this reference useful."

— Noel M. Burkheed

Copela

"A well-balanced, highly informative treatment. . . . This new edition . . . is a major accomplishment and a significant improvement over the first edition (1981). . . . Anyone with interests in fresh water, geography, fishes, and pattern should have a copy of this book for study and reference."

— Brooks M. Burr

Transacions of the American Fisheries Society

"The text is a celebration of the diversity in morphology, life history, and behavior of fishes. Biological facts are extensive, well researched, and current. . . . A valuable addition to the library of any professional ichthyologist."

— Stephen T. Ross

Transacions of the American Fisheries Society - Stephen T. Ross

"The text is a celebration of the diversity in morphology, life history, and behavior of fishes. Biological facts are extensive, well researched, and current. . . . A valuable addition to the library of any professional ichthyologist."
Copela - Brooks M. Burr

"A well-balanced, highly informative treatment. . . . This new edition . . . is a major accomplishment and a significant improvement over the first edition (1981). . . . Anyone with interests in fresh water, geography, fishes, and pattern should have a copy of this book for study and reference."
JNABS - Noel M. Burkheed

"The author states the book was intended to be a reference for students, teachers, ichthyologists, zoogeographers and to other piscatorial aficionados, such as anglers and aquarists. Aquatic biologists, fish biologists, and fisheries biologists should have been included because all will find this reference useful."
Bulletin of Fish Biology - Harro Hieronimus

"Whoever is looking for an overview on the distribution areas of freshwater fish families will find practical advice in this book . . . for a reasonable price."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226044422
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
12/15/2007
Pages:
615
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

FRESHWATER FISH DISTRIBUTION
By TIM M. BERRA
THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO PRESS Copyright © 2007 Tim M. Berra
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-226-04442-2



Chapter One AGNATHA-Jawless Fishes

Superclass Agnatha Class Cephalaspidomorphi

Order Petromyzontiformes (Per) Family Petromyzontidae-lampreys (pet'-ro-mi-zon'-ti-de)

THE HOLARCTIC LAMPREY FAMILY CONSISTS OF 34 SPECIES IN four genera: Ichthyomyzon, 6 species in fresh waters of eastern North America; Petromyzon marinus, anadromous in Atlantic drainages of North America, Iceland, Europe, and landlocked in Great Lakes; Caspiomyzon wagneri in the Caspian Sea region; and Lampetra, 29 species, anadromous and freshwater, in North America and Eurasia.

The holarctic distribution of lampreys, mostly north of 30°N, is probably related to temperature. The Petromyzontidae is generally found north of the 20°C isotherm, and an average lethal temperature for lampreys is approximately 28°C (Potter, 1980). The Mexican species Lampetra spadicea (Fig. 4) and L. geminis (subgenus Tetrapleurodon) are found as landlock relicts on the Mesa Central in the Rio Lerma system (Miller and Smith, 1986). They occur further south than any other petromyzontid; however, the altitude of their habitat protects them from high temperatures (Potter, 1980). As a generalization, larger lamprey species have a greater geographical range (Potter, 1980).

Lampreys lack paired fins, scales, and bone. They have an elongate body with seven pairs of external gill openings and dorsal and caudal fins. The mouth is a circular disc. The skull and gill region are cartilaginous, as are the vertebrae, which lack centra. Lampreys present a good representation of what the earliest vertebrates were like: unarmored and lacking mineralized skeletons (Zimmer, 2000). There is a single nasal opening between the eyes. Chromosomes are mainly acrocentric and the diploid number of 164-168 in several different species is higher than that of any other vertebrate group except the Southern Hemisphere lamprey, Geotria australia (Potter, 1980). (See the next family, Geotriidae.)

Some lampreys are parasitic, whereas others are free living. The nonparasitic lampreys are thought to be derived from parasitic ancestors. The terms "paired species" and "satellite species" are used for the parasitic ancestor and its nonparasitic descendant, but not all parasitic species have given rise to nonparasitic ones. Some lampreys have both a parasitic and nonparasitic phase in their life cycle.

Lampreys have an extended larval life. Small eggs are deposited by the female in gravel nests in stream bottoms in late winter-early spring. The eggs hatch in 2-4 weeks depending on water temperature. The larvae are known as ammocoetes. Ammocoetes have a very small dorsal fin fold, skin-covered eyes, and a well-developed pharynx. The ammocoetes burrow into the soft substrata in the slow-flowing regions of streams and rivers. There they filter plankton and detritus just off the bottom. The ammocoetes may remain in the mud for 3-7 years, then metamorphose into the adult lamprey. Parasitic adults attach themselves to fishes with their oral sucking disc and rasp away flesh, blood, and tissue fluids with horny teeth on their oral disc and piston-like tongue. Anadromous parasitic sea lampreys, P. marinus (Fig. 5), spend time growing at sea and may reach up to 1 m in length before ascending streams to spawn and die. Some parasitic lampreys reach far smaller sizes and remain in fresh water. The adult stage of the large lampreys may last 2 years.

Nonparasitic lampreys, sometimes called "brook" lampreys, do not feed after metamorphosis. These small species, usually less than 20 cm, hide for a few months after metamorphosis while their gonads develop. Then they spawn. All lampreys die after spawning. Spawning females usually have a ventral fin fold and spawning males have a genital papilla.

The parasitic sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, has done tremendous damage to fish stocks in the Great Lakes. Important commercial species such as lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) were nearly eliminated by sea lamprey predation combined with overfishing. The sea lamprey is not native to the Great Lakes. It arrived in Lake Erie through the Welland Canal in approximately 1921. From there it spread, reaching Lakes Huron and Michigan by 1936 and Lake Superior by 1946. This led to the collapse of several fisheries. After much intensive study to learn the lamprey life cycle (Applegate, 1950), a specific ammocoete poison was developed. Streams draining into the Great Lakes were treated with the lampricide, and the lamprey population has been controlled. Restocking has enabled some fisheries activity to resume, but the species mix has been altered forever. There is concern that native nonparasitic lamprey populations have been damaged by the control measures for the sea lamprey. Lake Erie is shallow and warm compared to the other Great Lakes and is not an ideal lamprey habitat.

Fossil lampreys date to the Carboniferous (Janvier and Lund, 1983). Ichthyomyzon unicuspis, which has a simple dentition, is considered close to the ancestral stock (Potter, 1980). Hubbs and Potter (1971) and Potter (1980, 1986) suggested that the differences between the Northern Hemisphere lampreys and the Southern Hemisphere lampreys (Geotria and Mordacia) were significant enough to warrant separate family status. Nelson (1994) considered the two Southern Hemisphere lamprey families as subfamilies within the Petromyzontidae. See Bailey (1980, 1982) and Vladykov and Kott (1982) for a discussion of lamprey systematics.

Superclass Agnatha Class Cephalaspidomorphi

Order Petromyzontiformes (Per) Family Geotriidae-pouched lamprey (je-o-tri'-i-de) [je-o'-tre-i-de]

THIS MONOTYPIC FAMILY IS COMPOSED OF THE ANADROMOUS, parasitic Geotria australis found in southern Australia including Tasmania, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, and the Falkland and South Georgia islands. Along with Galaxias maculatus, which has a similar distribution, G. australis is one of the most widely dispersed of all the species that are found in fresh water throughout the world (Fig. 6).

Mature males have a very large mouth and a well-developed gular pouch. Feeding adults have two prominent dorsolateral blue-green stripes that become less visible after the lamprey begins its upstream migration from the sea. The mouth is surrounded by fimbriae. Ammocoetes rarely exceed 120 mm, whereas adults may reach 500-700 mm when they ascend rivers. The lateral teeth of the oral disc are spatulate shaped rather than conical like those of other lampreys. The second dorsal fin is well separated from the caudal fin in the ammocoete. Geotria ammocoetes have very high levels of hemoglobin in their blood and tissues (Potter, 1986). This may allow the ammocoetes to survive in poorly oxygenated waters.

Potter (1996) developed the following natural history information from Western Australian populations of pouched lampreys. Spawning occurs in October and November following a 15- or 16-month spawning migration up river. Major morphological changes occur during this protracted migration, including modification of the dentition and development of the male's gular pouch. Metamorphosis begins in January or February (summer) when the ammocoetes are about 4 years old. It is complete by July (winter) when the downstream migration begins. It is not known what fish species Geotria feeds on while at sea (Potter, 1996).

Geotria has about 180 acrocentric chromosomes, a higher diploid number than any other vertebrate (Potter, 1986).

Superclass Agnatha Class Cephalaspidomorphi

Order Petromyzontiformes (Per) Family Mordaciidae-Southern Hemisphere lampreys (mor-da-si'-i-de) [mor-da'-se-i-de]

THERE ARE THREE SPECIES IN THIS FAMILY. MORDACIA LAPIcida, a parasitic form, spawns in the rivers of southwestern South America. There are two Australian species. Mordacia mordax occurs in rivers in southeastern Australia and Tasmania and is parasitic (Fig. 7). Its nonparasitic derivative species, M. praecox, is found in two rivers within the northern part of M. mordax's range.

The males of M. lapicida develop a gular pouch at sexual maturity similar to Geotria, but M. mordax and M. praecox do not. Mordacia lack mucus-producing fimbriae around the suctorial disc, and their eyes are dorsolateral rather than lateral. These characteristics may be adaptations to the burrowing habit of adult Mordacia during migration (Potter, 1980). The ammocoetes of the two Australian species are indistinguishable. Adults of M. mordax typically reach 300-400 mm, whereas M. praecox rarely exceeds 170 mm (Potter, 1996).

The chromosomes of Mordacia are predominantly meta- or submetacentric and number 76, perhaps as the result of fusion from a higher number as found in the Petromyzontidae and the Geotriidae (Potter, 1986).

GNATHOSTOMATA-Jawed Fishes Chondrichthyes-Cartilaginous Fishes

Superclass Gnathostomata Class Chondrichthyes Subclass Elasmobranchii

Order Carcharhiniformes (Per) Family Carcharhinidae-requiem sharks (kar'-ka-ri'-ni-de)

THIS COSMOPOLITAN MARINE FAMILY OF ABOUT 58 SPECIES IN 13 genera has 7 species that enter fresh water. However, only the bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas (Fig. 8), and the rare Ganges shark, Glyphis gangeticus, make extensive movements into rivers and lakes. The map shows the distribution of these two species.

The bull shark is widespread along coastal regions of the tropics and warm temperate zones. There are five North American freshwater records (Burgess and Ross, 1980) including a specimen from the Mississippi River near St. Louis (Thomerson and Thorson, 1977). They may also occur up the Hudson River in New York (Smith, 1985). In Central America, Lake Nicaragua is infamous for its bull shark population that moves between the Caribbean Sea and the lake via the San Juan River (Thorson, 1976). Bull sharks have been taken 3700 km from the sea in the Amazon River as far as Peru, and in South Africa the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers also house this species (Compagno, 1984). Both the bull shark and the Ganges shark are found in some Indian rivers. In Australia bull sharks, called river or freshwater whalers, have been reported from the Adelaide, Daly, East Alligator, Herbert, Brisbane, Clarence, and Swan Rivers (Last and Stevens, 1994). In New Guinea bull sharks have been taken in the Sepik and Ramu Rivers and Lake Jamur, which is approximately 130 km inland from the Arafur Sea (Allen, 1991).

The bull shark is a gray, heavy-bodied shark with a short, broadly rounded snout, large and broad pectoral fins, and small eyes. The extremely short snout is much shorter than the width of the mouth (Castro, 1983). The first dorsal fin is large and triangular. The second dorsal is usually about a third of the height of the first dorsal. There are often trematode parasites or scars between the dorsal fins (Ellis, 1976). Upper teeth are broadly triangular and serrated. It normally feeds on bony fishes and other sharks. Because of its distribution near populated coasts and its aggressive attitude, large size, and formidable jaws and teeth, the bull shark is dangerous to humans. Along with the great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, and the tiger shark, Galeocerdo cuvieri, the bull shark ranks in the top three in attacks on humans (Garrick and Schultz, 1963; Baldridge, 1974).

Bull sharks are viviparous, producing 1-13 pups per litter, usually in estuaries. Pups are between 56 and 81 cm at birth. Adults reach 3.4 m (Compagno, 1984). Reproduction in the fresh waters of Lake Nicaragua is not common (Jensen, 1976). Adult and neonatal bull sharks are broadly euryhaline, ranging from the hyperuremic condition of ocean-dwelling sharks to the hypouremic levels of sharks from fresh waters (Thorson and Gerst, 1972). They do not appear to do well in hypersaline waters (Compagno, 1984).

The eyes of the Ganges shark are even smaller than those of the bull shark (Fig. 9). This may be an adaptation to the turbid conditions of tropical rivers and estuaries. The Ganges shark has a fierce reputation as a "man-eater," but because bull sharks also live in the Hooghly-Ganges River system, it is difficult to determine which species is responsible for the attacks (Compagno, 1984). Bull sharks are larger and their dentition is more robust. Bull sharks should probably receive most of the blame for human attacks in Indian rivers.

The biology of freshwater elasmobranchs was the subject of a symposium edited by Oetinger and Zorzi (1995) that forms a worthy extension of Thorson (1976).

Class Chondrichthyes Subclass Elasmobranchii

Order Myliobatiformes (Per) Family Potamotrygonidae-river stingrays (pot'-a-mo-tri-gon'-i-de)

THIS GROUP IS TREATED AS A SUBFAMILY OF THE DASYATIDAE within the order Rajiformes by Nelson (1994). Compagno (1999a,b) considered the Potamotrygonidae as a family distinct from the Dasyatidae and included both in the order Myliobatiformes. I follow Compagno's scheme.

The river stingrays consist of about 20 species in three genera (Compagno, 1999a,b). They occur in fresh waters of the Atlantic drainages of South America, such as the Atrato, Maracaibo, Magdalena, Orinoco, Essequibo, Amazon, Paraná, and de la Plata Rivers.

They are restricted to fresh water and do not tolerate salt water (Dingerkus, 1995). Freshwater adaptations of the Potamotrygonidae include very little urea in body fluids and an atrophied rectal gland (Thorson et al., 1967, 1978). They osmoregulate like a freshwater bony fish by excreting copious quantities of dilute urine.

Paratrygon aireba lives in the rivers of northern Bolivia, eastern Peru, and northern Brazil (Fig. 10). Plesiotrygon iwamae occurs in the upper and mid-Amazon River and its tributaries in Ecuador and Brazil (Compagno, 1999b). There are 18 described species of Potamotrygon and at least 2 undescribed species. Potamotrygon is widespread in rivers of Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, Surinam, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay (Compagno, 1999b). Potamotrygon constellata is representative of the genus (Fig. 11).

Potamotrygonids have a circular or longitudinally oval pectoral disk and a bluntly rounded or truncate snout. The disk may be covered with small denticles or small to large thorns. They have an extended median prepelvic process directed anteriorly. This process is absent in the Dasyatidae. The tail may be much longer or shorter than the snout-vent length. The large sting is located behind the pelvic fins. The caudal fin is reduced to a fin fold. Adults are usually less than 1 m long, but some may reach 2 m (Compagno, 1999a).

Marine and freshwater stingrays bury themselves in sandy bottoms. Walking with a probing stick and shuffling one's feet will help dislodge hidden stingrays. If an unwary wader treads on its dorsal surface, the ray lashes out with its tail, driving its barbed and grooved spine into the leg of the victim and causing great pain. The stinging spine is actually modified from a placoid scale, and venom-producing cells lie in epidermal layers along the base of the spine (Halstead, 1978). The venomous sting of freshwater stingrays is extremely painful and produces a predominantly local symptomology with a torpid and chronic involvement of the affected parts, whereas marine rays cause less local symptoms and a more general response (Castex, 1967).

The initial wound from a freshwater stingray is a laceration or puncture which soon becomes necrotic and ulcerated. If left untreated the wound may become gangrenous and the leg may require amputation. First-aid treatment includes irrigation of the wound with cold water to remove surface venom and removal of any pieces of the sting and its sheath. The limb should then be soaked in hot water (50°C) for 30-90 minutes (Halstead, 1978). This helps stop the pain by denaturing the proteinaceous venom. Seek medical attention. Antitetanus, antibiotics, and sutures may be required.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from FRESHWATER FISH DISTRIBUTION by TIM M. BERRA Copyright © 2007 by Tim M. Berra. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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What People are Saying About This

Bruce B. Collette
...vast improvement... filled with just those nuggets of information that every professor will want to pass on to their student... reflect[s] the major changes in classification that have taken place over the last 20 years.
— (Bruce B. Collette, National Museum of Natural History)
Gene Helfman
...of critical importance to anyone interested in fishes and biogeography.
— (Gene Helfman, University of Georgia)
Joseph S. Nelson
...an excellent guide to the distribution of fishes in fresh waters... an informative text... highly recommended [for] all those interested in fish, including students and professionals.
— (Joseph S. Nelson, University of Alberta)

Meet the Author

Tim M. Berra is professor emeritus of evolution, ecology, and organismal biology at the Ohio State University-Mansfield.

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