Biodiv Sci ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (5): 598-609.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2015331

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Evaluating the status of China’s continental fish and analyzing their causes of endangerment through the red list assessment

Liang Cao1, E Zhang1,*(), Chunxin Zang2, Wenxuan Cao1   

  1. 1 Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072
    2 Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, Beijing 100012
  • Received:2015-11-27 Accepted:2016-01-28 Online:2016-05-20 Published:2018-08-09
  • Contact: Zhang E


Continental fishes (totaling 1,443 species) in China were assessed for their status based on available data utilizing the IUCN Redlist Categories and Criteria. Among these, 3 species were listed as Extinct, 1 as Regionally Extinct, 65 as Critically Endangered, 101 as Endangered, 129 as Vulnerable, 101 as Near Threatened, 454 as of Least Concern, and 589 were Data Deficient. Both the number of species assessed here and the number of species classified as threatened, were greater than those already identified by the IUCN. There were 295 threatened species, which accounted for 20.44% of the total number of currently identified continental fish in China. This ratio was lower than the known worldwide average. Three extinct species identified were Anabarilius macrolepis, Cyprinus yilongensis and Triplophysa cakaensis, and Stenodus nelma was found to be regionally extinct in China. Among all families assessed, Cyprinidae had the highest number of threatened species. Within this family, Schizothroracinae and Cyprininae were the two most threatened subfamilies. The upper Yangtze River and the upper Pearl River were two areas with the highest number of threatened species. Major threats to continental fish in China can be classified into four categories: dam construction, habitat degradation, over-fishing, and introducing of alien species. A total of 589 species (40.82% of continental fishes in China) were listed as Data Deficient. This large number indicated insufficient information regarding continental fishes in China, therefore warranting the need for basic data collection on continental fishes through field surveys.

Key words: continental fishes, red list, threatened species, threat