Contribution to the Ichthyofauna of Küçük Karaçay Stream, Hatay/Turkey
Keywords:Ichthyofauna, fish biodiversity, conservation, endemic, Küçük Karaçay, Orontes
Küçük Karaçay Stream is one of the important tributaries of the River Orontes (Asi) in Turkish boundaries. Previously seven species of fish have been reported to inhabit the stream. This article contributes to the addition of four species new for the ichthyofauna of the stream. Hence, with the addition of Liza abu, Gambusia affinis, Clarias gariepinus and Oxynoemacheilus argyrogramma the number has increased to 11 species reported from the stream so far. Endemism for the stream is high and five of 11 species occupying the stream are endemic to the Middle East. Among them, one species is endemic to the River Orontes. One of the new reports is exotic mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis. Prevention of the effects of an introduced fish on native species necessitates close monitoring. The conservation status of the species varies from least concerned (LC) to critically endangered (CR) according to IUCN red list criteria. The conservation plans and actions are considerably few for the stream. Only one species, Garra rufa, is under protection by a ban on fishing of the species. European eel, Anguilla anguilla is another inhabitant of the stream and receives a worldwide attention for protection. However, the conservation action even for this species has not been set up yet. Major threats concerning the stream are water abstraction and drought, and exotic species. Therefore further studies on the ichthyofauna of Küçük Karaçay are urgently needed to ascertain taxonomic and conservational status of the species and, to decide and implement action plans for protection.