Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 101, Issue 6, pp 963–977 | Cite as

Environmental predictors for annual fish assemblages in subtropical grasslands of South America: the role of landscape and habitat characteristics

  • Luis Esteban Krause Lanés
  • Martin Reichard
  • Rafael Gomes de Moura
  • Robson S. Godoy
  • Leonardo Maltchik


Annual fishes (AF) are ecologically unique assemblage with major conservation concern. Several AF species are found in temporary waters of South American subtropical grasslands, an ecoregion largely neglected by conservation policies. We applied a broad-scale approach to understand distribution pattern of the AF and tested the effects of environmental predictors on occurrence, abundance and assemblage structure of this diverse Neotropical group of threatened endemic aquatic fauna. We recorded 23 AF species. AF assemblage was strongly spatially structured and many individual species formed discrete units. AF presence was negatively associated with altitude at the landscape scale, and negatively associated with maximum pool depth and presence of predatory fish at the local scale. We found negative association between AF abundance and water depth. Assemblage composition was spatially structured, differed among hydrographic regions and was influenced by altitude, temperature and monthly precipitation. AF inhabits highly vulnerable habitats currently located in livestock and agricultural landscapes. Habitat maintenance through wildlife-friendly practices should be considered as an alternative to promote AF conservation.


Austrolebias Cynopoecilus Killifish Temporary waters Pampas 



This research was supported mainly by funds from CNPq - Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico - Brazil (52370695.2) and UNISINOS. The biological data were obtained as part of doctorate project of LEKL (CNPq process number 132343/2009-6). The Ph.D. course of LEKL was partially funded by PROSUP/CAPES scholarship (2011/2). Part of the manuscript was prepared during the period covered by the Doctorate Sandwich Abroad scholarship (SWE) of LEKL through Science without Borders program from CNPq (200165/2015-1). LM holds Research Productivity grant and MR Special Visiting Research (PVE) grant, both from CNPq. The AF collections complied with Brazilian current laws (IBAMA-02001.001148/2007-61).

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis Esteban Krause Lanés
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Martin Reichard
    • 4
  • Rafael Gomes de Moura
    • 1
  • Robson S. Godoy
    • 1
  • Leonardo Maltchik
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Ecologia e Conservação de Ecossistemas AquáticosUniversidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos (UNISINOS)São LeopoldoBrazil
  2. 2.Instituto Pró-Pampa, Laboratório de IctiologiaPelotasBrazil
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Zoologia, Laboratório de Fisiologia da Conservação, Faculdade de BiociênciasPontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyAcademy of Sciences of the Czech RepublicBrnoCzech Republic

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