IUCN Species of the Day: Sahara Aphanius


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)

Photo credit: Heiko Kaerst


The Sahara Aphanius, Aphanius saourensis, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. This small freshwater fish is endemic to the Oued Saoura basin in Algeria. It is now only known from one remnant population, near Mazzer, in the Sahara Desert, having disappeared from numerous other localities within this same spring system.

The North American fish, Gambusia holbrooki, was introduced as a method of mosquito control, but now outnumbers Aphanius by more than 100 to one and poses a serious threat. In addition, excessive groundwater withdrawal for agricultural purposes, the drying of wetlands, and water pollution are also major threats to the species.

Numerous attempts have been made to record Sahara Aphanius from other localities but none have been found. It is unlikely to survive in the wild, however it does well in aquariums, and a small captive breeding programme is underway. This species would benefit from habitat restoration, and the development of a Protected Area within its range before re-introduction programmes can get underway.

World Water Week 2011 is next week, 21-27 August!


Geographic Range of the Sahara Aphanius

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Sahara Aphanius, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.

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