Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Patterns in species richness and endemism of European freshwater fish

Reyjol, Yorick; Hugueny, Bernard; Pont, Didier; Bianco, Pier Giorgio; Beier, Ulrika; Caiola, Nuño; Caiola, Nuno; Casals, Frederic; Cowx, Ian; Economou, Alcibiades; Ferreira, Teresa; Haidvogl, Gertrud; Noble, Richard; de Sostoa, Adolfo; Vigneron, Thibault; Virbickas, Tomas


Yorick Reyjol

Bernard Hugueny

Didier Pont

Pier Giorgio Bianco

Ulrika Beier

Nuño Caiola

Nuno Caiola

Frederic Casals

Ian Cowx

Alcibiades Economou

Teresa Ferreira

Gertrud Haidvogl

Adolfo de Sostoa

Thibault Vigneron

Tomas Virbickas


Aim To analyse the patterns in species richness and endemism of the native European riverine fish fauna, in the light of the Messinian salinity crisis and the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Location European continent. Methods After gathering native fish faunistic lists of 406 hydrographical networks, we defined large biogeographical regions with homogenous fish fauna, based on a hierarchical cluster analysis. Then we analysed and compared the patterns in species richness and endemism among these regions, as well as species-area relationships. Results Among the 233 native species present in the data set, the Cyprinidae family was strongly dominant (> 50% of the total number of species). Seven biogeographical regions were defined: Western Peri-Mediterranea, Central Peri-Mediterranea, Eastern Peri-Mediterranea, Ponto-Caspian Europe, Northern Europe, Central Europe and Western Europe. The highest regional species richness was observed for Central Peri-Mediterranea and Ponto-Caspian Europe. The highest endemic richness was found in Central Peri-Mediterranea. Species-area relationships were characterized by high slope values for Peri-Mediterranean Europe and low values for Central and Western Europe. Main Conclusion The results were in agreement with the 'Lago Mare' hypothesis explaining the specificity of Peri-Mediterranean fish fauna, as well as with the history of recolonization of Central and Western Europe from Ponto-Caspian Europe following the LGM. The results also agreed with the mechanisms of speciation and extinction influencing fish diversity in hydrographical networks. We advise the use of the seven biogeographical regions for further studies, and suggest considering Peri-Mediterranean Europe and Ponto-Caspian Europe as 'biodiversity hotspots' for European riverine fish.


Reyjol, Y., Hugueny, B., Pont, D., Bianco, P. G., Beier, U., Caiola, N., …Virbickas, T. (2007). Patterns in species richness and endemism of European freshwater fish. Global ecology and biogeography, 16(1), 65-75.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Dec 15, 2006
Publication Date 2007-01
Print ISSN 1466-822X
Electronic ISSN 1466-8238
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 16
Issue 1
Pages 65-75
Keywords Biodiversity hotspots; Biogeographical regions; Endemism; Europe; Hydrographical network; Messinian salinity crisis; Native fish fauna; Pleistocene glaciations; Species–area relationships; Species richness
Public URL