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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


OJEDA, F. PATRICIO; LABRA, FABIO A  and  MUNOZ, ALEJANDRO A. Biogeographic patterns of Chilean littoral fishes. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2000, vol.73, n.4, pp.625-641. ISSN 0716-078X.

In this study, we analyzed the biogeographic patterns of the Chilean littoral fish fauna, including latitudinal trends in teleost and chondrichthyan fish species richness, their distribution range patterns, and their level of endemism, both to the Chilean coast and the Southeastern Pacific. We determined the number and percentage of fish taxa within four different groups based on their biogeographic affinities. This was done, both for teleost and chondrichthyan fishes, at the species, genus and family level. In order to recognise the existence of biogeographic regions, we applied cluster and ordination analyses to the distribution data, using objective bootstrapping techniques at the three taxonomic levels used. We found that littoral fish diversity remains fairly constant along the coast down to around 40º S, declining south of this latitude. We detected two biogeographic regions along the Chilean coast, with a break between them at 40º S. These results lend support to previously recognized biogeographic provinces or faunistic units. These two biogeographic regions are a reflection of the mixed origin of the Chilean littoral ichthyofauna, consisting of northern warm-temperate fishes of subtropical origin and southern cold-temperate fishes of subantarctic origin. While the percentage of fishes endemic to the Chilean coast is not high (18%), a large percentage of teleost species inhabiting Chilean littoral waters are endemic to the Southeastern Pacific (44%). Dispersal and evolutionary history, rather that other factors, seem to explain the observed patterns of distribution of this particular fish fauna. This study represents a necessary first step towards understanding the biogeography of Southeastern Pacific marine fishes

Keywords : Marine biogeography; littoral fishes; endemism; Southeastern Pacific Ocean; latitudinal diversity patterns.

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