European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 243–253 | Cite as

Freshwater fish diversity in Algeria with emphasis on alien species

  • Hichem M. Kara
Original Paper


Little is known about freshwater fish diversity in Algeria, especially after the broad national program of introduction of exotic species applied for over 20 years. This paper is an attempt to describe the current situation emphasizing the characteristics of the various introductions of non-autochthonous species, their current status and their possible impacts. The freshwater fish fauna of Algeria is composed of 48 species belonging to 15 families. Twenty-one species are autochthonous, of which, three are endemic (Haplochromis desfontainii, Aphanius saourensis, Aphanius apodus), two are endangered (H. desfontainii, Aphanius iberus), and one is critically endangered (Anguilla anguilla). Twenty-seven species were introduced, of which, 18 never became established and 9 are established. Four species are reported for the first time: Abramis brama, Aspius aspius, Carassius carassius, Perca fluviatilis. Since 1860, 303 introduction events have been recorded at almost 107 different sites in Algeria. The number of introduction events per site was between 1 and 10. Most of the introduced fish are found in Oubéïra Lake (seven species). Aquaculture development was the main reason for fish introductions (37.0%). The five most often introduced species were Cyprinus carpio (86 records), Hypophthalmichthys molitrix (65 records), Aristichthys nobilis (51 records), Oreochromis niloticus niloticus (33 records), and Ctenopharyngodon idella (18 records). Since the adverse effects of introduced fish are risky and demonstrated in several countries, the adoption of the precautionary principle is recommended when new introductions are planned. It is important, therefore, to adopt regulations and procedures which will minimize the risks arising from introductions.


Fish Diversity Introduced species Aquaculture Algeria Introduction 


  1. Adams MJ, Pearl CA, Bury RB (2003) Indirect facilitation of an anuran invasion by non-native fishes. Ecol Lett 6:343–351CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan JD, Flecker AS (1993) Biodiversity conservation in running waters. Identifying the major factors that threaten destruction of riverine species and ecosystems. Bioscience 43:32–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Almaça C (1969) Révision critique de quelques types de Cyprinidés d'Europe et d'Afrique du Nord des collections du Muséum national d'histoire naturelle. Bull Mus Hist Nat Paris 40(6):1116–1144Google Scholar
  4. Almaça C (1970) Sor les barbeaux (genre et sous-genre Barbus) de l'Afrique du Nord. Bull Mus Hist Nat Paris 42(1):141–158Google Scholar
  5. Almaça C (1990) Neogene circummediteranean paleogeography and euromediterranean Barbus biogeography. Arg Do Mus Boc Nova 1:585–611Google Scholar
  6. Arab A (1989) Etude des peuplements d'invertébrés et de poisons appliquée à l'évaluation de la qualité des eaux et des resources piscicoles des oueds Mouzaia et Chiffa. Thèse de Magister en hydrobiology, USTHB, 139pGoogle Scholar
  7. Arrignon J (1962) Tilapia mossambica Peters, T. Macrochir Bigr., T. Zillii Gervais, trois nouveaux venus dans les eaux douces algériennes. Ann CAREF 1:7–31Google Scholar
  8. Arrignon J (1989) L'aquaculture en Afrique. In Barnabé G (ed). Aquaculture 2:1173–1214Google Scholar
  9. Arthington AH (1991) Ecological and genetic impacts of introduced and translocated fresh-water fishes in Australia. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 48:33–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Azeroual A, Crivelli AJ, Yahyaoui A, Dakki M (2000) L'ichtyofaune des eaux continentales du Maroc. Cybium 24(3 suppl):17–22Google Scholar
  11. Bacha M, Amara R (2007) Les poisons des eaux continentales d'Algérie. Etude de l'ichtyofaune de la Soummam. Cybium 31(3):351–358Google Scholar
  12. Beisner BE, Ives AR, Carpenter SR (2003) The effects of an exotic fish invasion on the prey communities of two lakes. J Anim Ecol 72:331–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Benchiheub Y, Frihi H (1995) Etude préliminaire sur l'eutrophisation du lac Oubéïra. Pelagos (Numéro spécial):168–171Google Scholar
  14. Bianco PG (1995) Mediterranean endemic freshwater fishes of Italy. Biol Conserv 72:159–170CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Blanco JL, Hrbek T, Doadrio I (2006) A new species of the genus Aphanius (Nardo, 1832) (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontidae) from Algeria. Zootaxa 1158:39–53Google Scholar
  16. Bouhadad R (1993) Distribution des espèces de genre Barbus en Algérie. Cah Ethol 13:185–188Google Scholar
  17. Bouhadad R, Asselah B (1998) Biodiversité comparée de l'ichtyofaune des eaux douces algériennes (Sahara et Nord) et maghrébine. Santé Plus 61:19–22Google Scholar
  18. Boulenger GA (1911) Catalogue of the freshwater fishes of Africa in the British Museum London. 2:529 pGoogle Scholar
  19. Bouton L (1957) Trois semaines à l'embouchure de l'oued Sebaou. Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 1:37–114Google Scholar
  20. Casal CMV (2006) Global documentation of fish introductions: the growing crisis and recommendations for action. Biol Inv 8:3–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Cauvet G (1913) Les poisons du Sahara algérien. Bull Soc Géogr Alger 4Google Scholar
  22. Cauvet G (1915) Les mares à silures de l'Algérie. Bull Soc Hist Nat Afrique du Nord 7Google Scholar
  23. Cauvet G (1930) Conseils pratiques pour l'élevage des poissons d'ornement en Algérie. Bull Stat Aquac Castiglione 2:9–78Google Scholar
  24. Crivelli AJ (1995) Are fish introductions a threat to endemic fresh-water fishes in the Northern Mediterranean region. Biol Conserv 72:311–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Cuvier G, Valenciennes A (1842) Histoire naturelle des poisons. P. Bertrand Paris 16:1828–1850Google Scholar
  26. Debrot AO (2003) A review of the freshwater fishes of Curacao, with comments on those of Aruba and Bonaire. Caribbean J Sci 39:100–108Google Scholar
  27. Dieuzeide R (1927) L'Oued Réghaia. Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 2:161–171Google Scholar
  28. Dieuzeide R (1932) L'empoissonnement des eaux de l'Oued Mazafran. Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 2:189–207Google Scholar
  29. Dieuzeide R, Champagne R (1950) L'able de la Calle (Phoxinellus callensis Guichenot). Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 2:9–28Google Scholar
  30. Dieuzeide R, Rolland J (1951) Le laboratoire d'hydrobiologie et de pisciculture d'eau douce du Mazafran. Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 3:190–207Google Scholar
  31. Doadrio I (1994) Freshwater fish fauna of North Africa and its biogeography. Ann Mus r Afr Centr Zool 275:21–34Google Scholar
  32. Doadrio I, Bouhadad R, Machordom A (1998) Genetic differentiation and biogeography in Saharan populations of the genus Barbus (Osteichthyes, Cyprinidae). Folia Zool 47(suppl 1):7–20Google Scholar
  33. Doadrio I, Carmora JA, Fernandez-Delgado C (2002) Morphometric study of the Iberian Aphanius (Actinopterygii, Cyprinodontiformes), with description of a new species. Folia Zool 51(1):67–79Google Scholar
  34. Duméril A 1858. Note sur les truites d'une espèce nouvelle récemment envoyées de l'Algérie à la Société. Bull Soc Zoo1 acclim (France) 5: 444–446.Google Scholar
  35. Dumont H (1981) Relict distribution patterns of aquatic animals: another tool in evaluating late Pleistocene climate changes in the Sahara and Sahel. Paleoecol Afr 14:1–24Google Scholar
  36. Elvira B (1990) Conservation status of endemic freshwater fish in Spain. Biol Conserv 72:129–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. FAO (1997) FAO Technical guidelines for responsible fisheries N°5. Food and agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, Rome, Italy, 40 ppGoogle Scholar
  38. Froese R, Pauly D (2009) FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication., version 10/2009
  39. Garcia-Berthou E, Moreno-Amich R (2000) Introduction of exotic fish into a Mediterranean lake over a 90-year period. Arvhiv für Hydrobiologie 149:271–284Google Scholar
  40. Garibaldi L (1996) List of animal species used in aquaculture. FAO Fish. Circ., No. 914, Rome, FAO, 38pGoogle Scholar
  41. Goren M (2002) Fishes. In: Dolev A, Perevolotsky A (eds) Endangered species in Israel, red list of threatened animals-vertebrates. Nature and parks Authority and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, Jerusalem, pp 39–52, in HebrewGoogle Scholar
  42. Goren M, Galil B (2005) A review of changes in the fish assemblages of Levantine inland and marine ecosystems following the introduction of non-native fishes. J Ichtyol 21:364–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Goren M, Ortal R (1999) Biogeography, diversity and conservation in the inland water fish communities in Israel. Biol Conserv 89:1–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Gurevitch J, Padilla DK (2004) Are invasive species a major cause of extinctions ? Trends Ecol Evol 18:470–474CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hootsman MJ (1999) Modeling Potamogeton pectinatus: for better or for worse. Hydrobiol 415:7–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. ICES (1995) ICES code of practice on the introductions and transfers of marine organisms. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea Copenhagen, DenmarkGoogle Scholar
  47. Irz P, Argillier C, Oberdorff T (2004) Native and introduced fish species richness in french Lakes: local and regional influences. Global Ecol Biogeogr 13:335–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. IUCN (2009) IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2009.2. <>. Downloaded on 16 December 2009
  49. Jeschke JM, Strayer DL (2005) Invasion success of vertebrates in Europe and North America. Proc Nat Acad Sci U S A 102:7198–7202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. JORADP (2004) Décret exécutif n°04-188 du 7 juillet 2004 fixant les modalités de capture, de transport, de commercialisation et d'introduction dans les milieux aquatiques des géniteurs, larves, alevins et des naissains ainsi que les modalités de capture, de transport, d'entreposage, d'importation et de commercialisation des produits de la pêche et de l'aquaculture n'ayant pas atteint la taille minimale réglementaire destinée à l'élevage, à la culture ou à la recherche scientifique. Journal Officiel de la République algérienne démocratique et populaire 44:3–5Google Scholar
  51. Josefsson M, Andersson B (2001) The environmental consequences of alien species in the Swedish Lakes Malaren, Hjalmaren, Vanern and Vattern. Ambio 30:514–521PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Kats LB, Ferrer RP (2003) Alien predators and amphibian declines: review of two decades of science and the transition to conservation. Divers Distrib 9:99–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Komak S, Crossland MR (2000) An assessment of the introduced mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis holbrooki) as a predator of eggs, hatchlings and tadpoles of native and non-native anurans. Wildlife Res 27:185–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Kottelat M (1997) European freshwater fishes. An heuristic checklist of the freshwater fishes of Europe (exclusive of former USSR), with an introduction for non-systematics and comments on nomenclature and conservation. Biologia (Bratislava) 52(suppl 5):1–271Google Scholar
  55. Kraiem M (1983) Les poisons d'eau douce de Tunisie: inventaire commenté et répartition géographique. Bull Inst Nat Scient Tech Océanogr Pêche Salammbô 10:107–124Google Scholar
  56. Krumholz LA (1948) Reproduction in the western mosquitofish Gambusia affinis (Baird & Girard), and its use in mosquito control. Ecol Monogr 18:1–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Leidy RA, Moyle PB (1998) Conservation status of the world's fish fauna: an overview. In: Fiedler PL, Kareiva PM (eds) Conservation biology for the coming decade, 2nd edn. Chapman & Hall, New York/London, pp 187–227Google Scholar
  58. Leonardos I, Paschos I, Prassa M (2005) Threatned fishes of the world: Phoxinellus epiroticus (Steindachner 1895) (Cyprinidae). Environ Biol Fish 72:250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Lévêque C (1997) Biodiversity and conservation: the freshwater fish of tropical Africa. Cambridge University Press, 432 ppGoogle Scholar
  60. Lévêque C, Oberdorff T, Paugy D, Stiassny MLJ, Tedesco PA (2008) Global diversity of fish (pisces) in freshwater. Hydrobiol 595:545–567CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Lever C (1996) Naturalized fishes of the world. London, Academic Press, p 408Google Scholar
  62. Lloyd LN, Arthington AH, Milton DA (1986) The mosquitofish—a valuable mosquito-control agent or a pest? In: Kitching RL (ed) The ecology of exotic animals and plantsGoogle Scholar
  63. Machordon A, Bouhadad R, Doadrio I (1998) Allozyme variation and evolutionary history of North African populations of the genus Barbus (Osteichthyes, Cyprinidae). Divers Distrib 4:217–234Google Scholar
  64. Miller SA, Crowl TA (2006) Effects of common carp on macrophytes and invertebrate communities in a shallow lake. Freshwater Biol 51:85–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Mills MD, Rader RB, Belk MC (2004) Complex interactions between native and invasive fish: the simultaneous effects of multiple negative interactions. Oecol 141:713–721CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Moreau J, Arrignon J, Jubb RA (1994) Introduction of foreign fishes in African inlands waters. Suitability and problems. In Lévêque C, Bruton MN, Ssentongo GW (eds), Biology and ecology of African freshwater fishes, Orstom 395–426Google Scholar
  67. Moyle PB (1997) The importance of a historical perspective: fish introductions. Fish 22:14Google Scholar
  68. Osenberg CW, Mittelbach GG, Wainwright PC (1992) Two-stage life histories in fish: the interaction between juvenile competition and adult performance. Ecology 73:255–267CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pellegrin J (1921) Les poissons des eaux douces de l'Afrique du Nord française: Maroc, Algérie, Tunisie, Sahara. Mem Soc Sci Nat Maroc 1(2):216pGoogle Scholar
  70. Pellegrin J (1939) Les barbeaux de l'Afrique du nord française: description d'une espèce nouvelle. Bull Soc Sci Nat Maroc 19(1):10pGoogle Scholar
  71. Perdices A, Doadrio I (1992) Presence of the Asiatic cyprinid Pseudorasbora parva (Schlegel 1842) in North Africa. Misc Zool 16:236–239Google Scholar
  72. Philipart JC, Ruwet JC (1982) Ecology and distribution of Tilapias. In RSV Pullin & RH Lowe-MConnell (eds) The biology and culture of tilapias. ICLARM Conference Proceedings 7:15–59Google Scholar
  73. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R, Morrison D (1999) Environmental and economic costs associated with introduced non-native species in the United States. Manuscript. (
  74. Playfair HM, Letourneux M (1871) Memoir on the hydrogeographical system and the freshwater fish of Algeria. Ann ma gnat Hist 8(4):373–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Pyke GH (2005) A review of the biology of Gambusia affinis and G. Holbrooki. Rev Fish Biol Fish 15:339–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Roberts MR (1975) Geographical distribution of African freshwater fishes. Zool J Linn Soc 57:249–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Roll U, Dayan T, Simberloff D, Goren M (2007) Characteristics of the introduced fish fauna of Israel. Biol Inv 9:813–824CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Saunders DL, Meeuwig JJ, Vincent CJ (2002) Freshwater protected areas: strategies for conservation. Cons Biol 16:30–41CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Seurat LG (1930) Les connaissances actuelles sur les poisons culicivores. Bull Stat Aquic Pêche Castiglione 1:55–73Google Scholar
  80. Simon KS, Townsend CR (2003) Impacts of freshwater invaders at different levels of ecological organisation, with emphasis on salmonids and ecosystem consequences. Freshwater Biol 48:982–994CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Smith MH, Scribner KT, Hernandez JD, Wooten MC (1989) Demographic, spatial and temporal genetic variation in Gambusia. In: Meffe GK, Snelson FF (eds) Ecology and evolution of livebearing fishes (Poeciliidae). Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, pp 235–257Google Scholar
  82. Taylor JN, Courtenay WR Jr, McCann JA (1984) Known impacts of exotic fishes in the continental United States. In: Courtenay WR Jr, Stauffer JR Jr (eds) Distribution, biology and management of exotic fishes. John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, pp 322–373Google Scholar
  83. Vitousek V, Mooney HA, Lubchenco J, Melillo JM (1997) Human domination of Earth's ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Welcomme RL (1988) International introductions of inland aquatic species. FAO, UN, RomeGoogle Scholar
  85. Wooten MC, Scribner KT, Smith MH (1988) Genetic variability and systematic of Gambusia in the southeastern United States. Copeia 1988:283–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Zambrano L, Scheffer M, Martinez-Ramos M (2001) Catastrophic response of lakes to benthivorous fish introduction. Oikos 94:344–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Zouakh DE (2009) Hydrosystèmes continentaux et valorisation des ressources ichtyologiques d'Algérie. Thèse de Doctorat d'Etat, USTHB, Alger, 143 pGoogle Scholar
  88. Zouakh DE, Bouhadad R, Moulla M, Cherbi M (2004) L'ichtyofaune, macrofaune benthique et peuplements zooplanctoniques des hydrosystèmes du Hoggar et du Tassili. Bull Soc Zool Fr 103:55–80Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Marine Bioresources Laboratory, E1RAUniversity of AnnabaAnnabaAlgeria

Personalised recommendations