Review of Aphanius farsicus: a critically endangered species (Teleostei: Cyprinodontidae) in Iran

Hamid Reza ESMAEILI, Mojtaba MASOUDI, Mehregan EBRAHIMI, Amir ELMI

Abstract

The systematics, morphology, phylogeny, distribution, biology, economic importance and conservation of the Fars tooth-carp, Aphanius farsicus of Iran are described, the species is illustrated, and a bibliography on this endemic, critically endangered species is provided. Iran and central Anatolia show the highest diversity of Aphanius, and 14 extant (including Aphanius farsicus, an endemic species in the endorheic Lake Maharlu basin, South-western Iran) and one fossil species are known to occur in Iran based on data derived from fish morphometry and meristics, otoliths, scales and mtDNA sequences. Human-induced disturbance or anthropogenic activities, including hydrological alteration, introduction of exotic species, intensive aquaculture industry, water pollution, rapid sedimentation, natural disturbance (climate change and drought) and also limited distribution, have forced Aphanius farsicus populations to the edge of extinction. Aphanius farsicus can benefit from a combination of reintroduction, assisted colonization and capture release which potentially increase success rate of a conservation management plan. Encouraging the local communities, NGOs and media to involve voluntarily in long-term conservation programs is highly recommended.

Keywords

Fish diversity, Threatened fishes, Endemic, Maharlu Lake basin, Iran.

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References

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