NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES: A dataset of occurrence and abundance of freshwater fishes in the Neotropics

Ecology. 2022 Apr 27;e3713. doi: 10.1002/ecy.3713. Online ahead of print.


The Neotropical region hosts 4225 freshwater fish species, ranking first among the world's most diverse regions for freshwater fishes. Our NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set is the first to produce a large-scale Neotropical freshwater fish inventory, covering the entire Neotropical region from Mexico and the Caribbean in the north to the southern limits in Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, and Uruguay. We compiled 185,787 distribution records, with unique georeferenced coordinates, for the 4225 species, represented by occurrence and abundance data. The number of species for the most numerous orders are as follows: Characiformes (1289), Siluriformes (1384), Cichliformes (354), Cyprinodontiformes (245), and Gymnotiformes (135). The most recorded species was the characid Astyanax fasciatus (4696 records). We registered 116,802 distribution records for native species, compared to 1802 distribution records for nonnative species. The main aim of the NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set was to make these occurrence and abundance data accessible for international researchers to develop ecological and macroecological studies, from local to regional scales, with focal fish species, families, or orders. We anticipate that the NEOTROPICAL FRESHWATER FISHES data set will be valuable for studies on a wide range of ecological processes, such as trophic cascades, fishery pressure, the effects of habitat loss and fragmentation, and the impacts of species invasion and climate change. There are no copyright restrictions on the data, and please cite this data paper when using the data in publications.

Keywords: Neotropical region; biodiversity hotspot; conservation; data paper; ichthyology; occurrence; species distribution.