Biodiv Sci ›› 2010, Vol. 18 ›› Issue (2): 169-174.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2010.179

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Fishes in the mainstream of the Yellow River: assemblage characteristics and historical changes

Huijun Ru1,2; Haijun Wang1*; Weihua Zhao1,2; Yaqiang Shen1,2; Yong Wang1,2; Xiaoke Zhang1,2   

  1. 1 State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072

    2 Graduate University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2009-10-14 Online:2010-03-20 Published:2010-03-20
  • Contact: Haijun Wang


To explore the status of fish assemblage characteristics and historical changes, investigations on fish assemblage were carried out in the mainstream of the Yellow River in spring (May–June) and autumn (September–November) of 2008. A total of 54 fish species were collected, belonging to 13 families and 7 orders, among which 4 species were endemic to the river basin. Cypriniformes were dominant, accounting for 68.5% of the total species captured. Fish assemblages in the upper section were relative simple, while those in the middle and lower sections were much more complex. Species richness increased from upper to lower sections. The ecological guilds of fishes in the Yellow River showed great variety in migration, feeding, spawning and inhabit. Although the catch composition was different from section to section, the dominant groups were all small fishes, including Pelteobagrus spp., Silurus asotus, Carassius auratus, Gobioninae and so on and fishes showed miniaturization significantly. Compared with historical data, fish abundance and diversity in our samples were dramatically lower and the loss of endemic species was severe. Over exploitation of water resources, construction of hydraulic engineering infrastructure, water pollution and the unreasonable utilization of resource are potential underlying reasons for observed shifts in the fish assemblages.