The ichthyofauna of the Lulua River, a large right bank tributary of the Kasai River in central Africa, is among the most poorly documented in the Kasai ecoregion. To remedy this lack of knowledge, sampling was carried out between 2007 and 2014 along
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The ichthyofauna of the Lulua River, a large right bank tributary of the Kasai River in central Africa, is among the most poorly documented in the Kasai ecoregion. To remedy this lack of knowledge, sampling was carried out between 2007 and 2014 along the main channel and in many tributaries. A total of 201 species distributed in 81 genera, 24 families, and 12 orders are reported from the lower reaches of the Lulua. The species richness reported in this study represents a substantially improved documentation of the Lulua ichthyofauna (historically estimated at only 79 species). Here, 129 species are recorded for the first time, bringing the total number of known species to 208. Among these, five have recently been described: Raiamas brachyrhabdotos
Katemo Manda, Snoeks, Choca Manda, and Vreven 2018, Distichodus kasaiensis
Moelants, Snoeks, and Vreven, 2018, Distichodus polli
Abwe, Snoeks, Choca Manda, and Vreven 2019, Epiplatys atractus
Van Der Zee, Mbimbi, and Sonnenberg 2013, and Hypsopanchax stiassnyae
Van Der Zee, Sonnenberg, and Mbimbi 2015; numerous additional taxa are currently under investigation. Recognized here as a continental hotspot of ichthyofaunal diversity, the Lulua is under extreme threat from exploitation of forest products for building materials, deforestation for shifting agriculture and charcoal exploitation, destructive fishing practices, and mining, all of which are rapidly increasing in the watershed. The present study provides baseline documentation for use in conservation planning and future developmental projects in the Kasai ecoregion in general and Lulua River basin in particular.