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Freshwater fish

More than 600 species of freshwater fish are known to exist in the Guinean forests, making this a truly remarkable area for fish biodiversity. Many species are endemic, but it is difficult to draw up a precise list.

Around 25% of the world’s killifish species are found in the Guinean forests, and around half of these are endemic to these forests. These killies live in small forest streams and creeks, for example Scriptaphyosemion schmitti, which occupies an area of dense forest in the coastal zone of Liberia, or Epiplatys coccinatus, endemic to inland wetlands in central Liberia, or Fundulopanchax powelli, endemic to inland wetlands south of the Niger delta in Nigeria.

Scriptaphyosemion schmitti © K. Nilsson
Callopanchax monroviae © Christian Cauvet

The Emerald aphyosemion (Fundulopanchax scheeli) is a species of killifish endemic to the lower Cross River basin in Nigeria.

The Emerald aphyosemion © Olivier Buisson

Other freshwater fish species threatened with extinction due to siltation and pollution caused by deforestation (industrial farming and shifting slash-and-burn cultivation) and mining include, in Liberia, the Enteromius boboi, which is found in the Farmington River, and the Labeo curriei, which is confined to the Via River, and possibly the Corubal River, in the Saint Paul River catchment in Liberia.

We can only hope that future research will provide a better understanding of the region’s freshwater fish, and in particular of their ecological requirements, so that they can be better protected.