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New Insights into the Distribution, Physiology and Life Histories of South American Galaxiid Fishes, and Potential Threats to This Unique Fauna

1
Instituto Patagónico de Tecnologías Biológicas y Geoambientales (IPATEC), Universidad Nacional del Comahue—CONICET, Bariloche 8400, Argentina
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Centro Austral de Investigaciones Científicas (CADIC)—Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Ushuaia 9410, Argentina
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Instituto de Ciencias Marinas y Limnológicas, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia 5090000, Chile
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Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
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Departamento de Sistemas Acuáticos, Facultad de Ciencias Ambientales y Centro EULA-CHILE, Universidad de Concepción, Concepción 4030000, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2020, 12(5), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/d12050178
Received: 3 March 2020 / Revised: 14 April 2020 / Accepted: 15 April 2020 / Published: 4 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Evolutionary Genetics and Biogeography of Galaxiid Fishes)
South American galaxiids occupy both Patagonia and the ichthyogeographic Chilean Province, encompassing glacial Andean deep lakes, shallow plateau lakes, reservoirs, short Pacific rivers and long Atlantic rivers. The total fish fauna includes 29 species, comprising Neotropical fishes (siluriforms and characids), galaxiids, percichthyids, atherinopsids and mugilids, two lamprey species, and several exotic fishes (salmonids, Gambusia spp. and common carp). The family Galaxiidae shares a common ancestry with the Gondwanan temperate fish fauna, played a major role in the post-glacial colonization of Andean lakes and streams, and contributes key species to the food webs. Galaxiid species occupy an enormous latitudinal gradient, show a wide variety of life history patterns and are the southernmost native freshwater fishes of the world. Knowledge of South American galaxiids has improved notably, but new challenges arise due to climate change, biological invasions, damming, aquaculture and contamination. In this changing environment, the future of South American galaxiids should be carefully considered as a legacy of the old Gondwana and a unique attribute of the freshwaters of southern South America. View Full-Text
Keywords: Aplochiton; Brachygalaxias; Galaxias; life history; South America; temperature Aplochiton; Brachygalaxias; Galaxias; life history; South America; temperature
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Cussac, V.E.; Barrantes, M.E.; Boy, C.C.; Górski, K.; Habit, E.; Lattuca, M.E.; Rojo, J.H. New Insights into the Distribution, Physiology and Life Histories of South American Galaxiid Fishes, and Potential Threats to This Unique Fauna. Diversity 2020, 12, 178.

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