What is it about?

The Neotropical region hosts 4,225 freshwater fish species, ranking first among the world’s most diverse regions for freshwater fishes. Our NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set is the first to produce a large-scale Neotropical freshwater fish inventory, covering the entire Neotropical region from Mexico and the Caribbean in the north, to the southern limits in Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay. We compiled 185,787 distribution records, with unique georeferenced coordinates, for 4,225 species, represented by occurrence and abundance data. The number of species for the most numerous orders are: Characiformes (1,289), Siluriformes (1,384), Cichliformes (354), Cyprinodontiformes (245) and Gymnotiformes (135). The most recorded species was the characid Astyanax fasciatus (4,696 records). We registered 116,802 distribution records for native species, compared to 1,802 distribution records for non-native species. The main aim of the NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set was to make these occurrence and abundance data accessible for international researchers to develop ecological and macroecological studies, from local to regional scales, with focal fish species, families and/or orders. We anticipate that the NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set will be valuable for studies on a wide range of ecological processes, such as trophic cascades, fisheries pressure, the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation, and the impacts of species invasion and climate change. There are no copyright restrictions on the data, and please cite this data paper when using the data in publications.

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Why is it important?

In summary, the NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set is important for assessing biodiversity, facilitating ecological and macroecological studies, promoting international collaboration, informing conservation and management efforts, and supporting open data access. It serves as a valuable tool for understanding and conserving the diverse and unique freshwater fish fauna in the Neotropical region.


The NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set offers perspectives for taxonomic studies, community ecology research, conservation prioritization, climate change vulnerability assessments, data integration, long-term monitoring, and adaptive management. By leveraging this data set, researchers can advance our understanding of Neotropical freshwater fish ecosystems and contribute to their conservation and sustainable management.

Leonardo Oliveira-Silva
Universidade Estadual Paulista Julio de Mesquita Filho

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES: A dataset of occurrence and abundance of freshwater fishes in the Neotropics, Ecology, February 2023, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1002/ecy.3713.
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