Freshwater Fishes of Colombia

Fish database used in the paper: J.A. Maldonado-Ocampo, Vari, R.P., Usma, J.S. (2008) Checklist of the Freshwater Fishes of Colombia. Biota Colombiana 9 (2) 143 - 237. This paper includes a checklist of the native freshwater fishes of Colombia by river basin.

Paper abstract: Data derived from the literature supplemented by examination of specimens in collections show that 1435 species of native fishes live in the freshwaters of Colombia. These species represent 14 orders and 47 families. Orders with the largest numbers of species in the Colombian continental ichthyofauna are the Characiformes (637 species), Siluriformes (524 species), Perciformes (124 species), and Gymnotiformes (74 species), with the remaining 10 orders having from 1 to 35 species. At the family level, the Characidae has the greatest number of species (399 species), with this followed by the Loricariidae (166 species), Cichlidae (114 species), Pimelodidae (54 species), and Trichomycteridae (54 species); the remaining 42 families having 1 to 52 species. Present data indicate that 311 of the species occur solely at locations within Colombia. Continued descriptions of new species from the continental waters of Colombia demonstrate that the present total underestimates the species-level diversity of the ichthyofauna. The 1435 species living in Colombian freshwaters represent approximately 5% of all freshwater and marine fish species now recognized worldwide and approximately 29% of the freshwater fish species known to inhabit the drainages across the expanse from the southern border of Mexico through to Chile and Argentina. Various historical and ecological factors potentially contributing to the species-level richness of the Colombian freshwater fish fauna are discussed (e.g. geology, climate, physiography, water chemistry).

More information on this dataset can be found in the Freshwater Metadatabase - BFE_12 (

Data and Resources

Additional Info

Field Value
Last Updated June 23, 2017, 16:48 (Europe/Berlin)
Created June 23, 2017, 16:48 (Europe/Berlin)
Dataset language spa
Dataset reference date 2008-01-01
Dataset reference type publication
Guid BFE_12
Licence Data provider must be offered co-authorship for publications using this dataset. Data must be publicly acknowledged and cited correctly.
Metadata date 2013-11-14
Metadata language eng
Resource type dataset
Spatial harvester true
Topic category biota, inlandWaters