Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 12, pp 2883-2899

First online:

Marine Ornamental Trade in Brazil

  • J. L. GaspariniAffiliated withDepartamento de Ecologia e Recursos Naturais, Universidade Federal do Espìrito Santo
  • , S. R. FloeterAffiliated withLaboratório de Ciências Ambientais, Universidade Estadual doNorte Fluminense Email author 
  • , C. E. L. FerreiraAffiliated withDepartamento de Oceanografia, IEAPM
  • , I. SazimaAffiliated withDepartamento de Zoologia e Museu de História Natural, Universidade Estadual de Campinas

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Brazil is one of the five leading exporting countries of tropical aquarium fishes in the world, and the interest in marine ornamental organisms has increased substantially there from the mid to the late 1990s. About 120 reef fish species are currently harvested in Brazil's ornamental trade. Among the 75 most harvested species, 26 (34.7%) are endemic, eight (10.7%) are rare, and six (8.2%) are estuarine-dependent species. Fifty-five species (75.3%) have complex reproductive strategies and/or parental care. In quantitative terms, the top 10 species comprises 62% of the species exported from Brazil to the USA and the European Community. The most harvested reef invertebrates include about 65 species. The most representative groups are crustaceans with 15 species (23%), and molluscs and stony corals with 10 species (15.4%) each. Among these, 15 (23%) are endemics, nine (13.8%) are rare species, and seven (10.8%) are important reef builders. A case of local extinction of the giant anemone Condylactis gigantea is reported. To alleviate ecological impacts a series of urgent measures is suggested, including the creation of specific laws for marine ornamental harvesting and improving law enforcement to prevent illegal trade in Brazil.


Aquarium reef trade Brazil Condylactis gigantea Local extinction Marine ornamentals Reef fish