East Tiaoxi River is one of the largest inflowing rivers into Taihu Lake, and the fish fauna in the river is poorly understood. In the present study, an extensive survey of fish was conducted in October and November 2009, May and September 2010 and May 2011 covering a total of 55 sites along the whole river. A total of 84 freshwater fish species belonging to 8 orders, 18 families and 52 genera have been recorded. Among these are 35 species endemic to China, and 3 newly recorded exotic species. The fish composition varies greatly from headwaters to downstream. Based on cluster analysis with presence-absence data, the East Tiaoxi River is divided into four regions, specifically, the upper reach, middle-up reach, middle reach and lower reach. It is observed that species richness and the proportion of omnivorous species increased from upstream to downstream while the proportion of invertivorous species decreased consequently. Habitat alteration, overfishing, pollution and inland navigation adversely affect the fish diversity and ecosystem functioning in the East Tiaoxi River. To protect fish diversity more effectively in the area, the conservation of fish biodiversity in the North Tiaoxi River and Middle Tiaoxi River should be considered as a priority. Meanwhile, shallow zones or backwater areas should be created in the middle-lower reaches. Furthermore, river restoration, in terms of habitat creation, should be considered to protect the structure and diversity of fish communities, halt the progressive deterioration of freshwater ecosystems and sustain a valuable ecological resource for humans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science