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The inland water fishes of Africa

 | 
Didier Paugy
, 
Christian Levêque
, 
Olga Otero

Species richness of fish communities

Bernard Hugueny

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Introduction

Freshwater habitats from Africa and Madagascar harbour about 3,255 fish species (Lévêque et al., 2008). This is of course not a definitive figure because new species are still described and taxonomic revisions occur regularly. That means that about a quarter of all known freshwater fishes live in Africa, an expected pattern considering that biodiversity peaks in tropical biomes for most taxonomic groups. Indeed, other biogeographic realms with a large extent of tropical climate (Neotropical and Oriental) also display great freshwater fish diversity (3,000-4,000 species) in comparison with more temperate ones (about 2,000 species in Nearctic and Palaearctic). However, high biodiversity at a continental scale does not necessarily translate to high biodiversity at a smaller, regional, scale, a pattern clearly shown by the number of species recorded per 300*300 km quadrat in the FAUNAFRI database (an updated storage of fish distribution in Africa) which exhibits a high spati...

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