Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 447-466

First online:

Species richness and conservationof Namibian freshwater macro-invertebrates,fish and amphibians

  • Barbara CurtisAffiliated with
  • , Kevin S. RobertsAffiliated withDepartment of Water Affairs
  • , Michael GriffinAffiliated withMinistry of Environment and Tourism
  • , Shirley BethuneAffiliated withDepartment of Water Affairs
  • , Clinton J. HayAffiliated withHardap Freshwater Fish Institute
  • , Holger KolbergAffiliated withMinistry of Environment and Tourism

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Namibia is an arid country but has a diverse array of wetland habitats ranging from ephemeral water bodies and rain-pools, artesian springs supporting small perennial pools and streams, to the large perennial rivers of the north-east with their associated floodplains. These rivers drain wetter areas north of Namibia and contribute many tropical species to Namibia's wetlands. There are 778 described species of macro-invertebrates representing eight phyla with 81 endemics. Many invertebrates still have to be identified or described but presently the greatest endemism occurs among the Ostracoda (18 species), Coleoptera (17), Diptera (14), Anostraca (six) and Amphipoda (five species). In total, Namibia has 50 species of frog with three endemics. No caecilians or salamanders occur in Namibia. There are 114 species of freshwater fish with five endemics. Most Namibian wetlands occur outside protected areas. Over-exploitation of wetland resources and flow regulation are currently major threats, but new environmental legislation being formulated is based on the goal of sustainable use.

Namibian wetlands invertebrates fish amphibians conservation