Biodiv Sci ›› 2011, Vol. 19 ›› Issue (6): 737-763.  DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1003.2011.27133

Special Issue: 中国的海洋生物多样性

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Species composition and geographical distribution of fishes in Tungsha Island and Taiping Island in the South China Sea

Kwang-Tsao Shao1, Jeng-Ping Chen2,*(), Ching-Yi Chen1, Cheing-Hua Huang1, Jen-Wei Kuo1   

  1. 1 Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei 11529
    2 Taiwan Ocean Research Institute, Applied Research Laboratories, Taipei
  • Received:2011-08-02 Accepted:2011-11-01 Online:2011-11-20 Published:2011-12-19
  • Contact: Jeng-Ping Chen


This paper summarizes all the reef fishes collected in Tungsha (Pratas) Island and Taiping Island (Nansha or Spratly) in the South China Sea, along with records of these two islands from literatures and databases since 1975. A total number of 73 families and 652 species in Tungsha Island as well as 56 families and 466 species in Taiping Island were obtained, with 76 families and 759 species found in both Islands. The reason why the species number in Taiping is less than that of Tungsha is because the reef area of Taiping is much smaller and fewer surveys were conducted. Based on the analysis of zoogeographical distribution range of each species, we found that almost all the species recorded in the two islands are widely distributed species in Indo-Pacific, Indo-western Pacific and western Pacific. Only one species, Chrysiptera chrysocephala, was found only in the South China Sea. This result infers that the fish fauna in the South China Sea can fully exchange with that in the surrounding waters or the Coral Triangle region, and any geographical isolation or speciation phenomenon is not discernible. In addition, although the Sørensen similarity index between Taiping and Tungsha reached 85.69%, a total of 240 species is absent from either Taiping or Tungsha, i.e. 165 species were recorded in both Tungsha and Taiwan but absent at Taiping, and 75 species were recorded in both Taiping and Taiwan but absent at Tungsha. Furthermore, most of the 21 and 20 species which were recorded only in Taiping and Tungsha, respectively, are hard-to-survey rare species. We speculate that our surveys in both islands are rather insufficient. If the investigation could be more intensive and longer-term, the similarity of fish faunas between these two islands will be even higher.

Key words: fish fauna, fish geographical distribution, fish community, fish taxonomy, species checklist