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Gayana (Concepción)

versión impresa ISSN 0717-652Xversión On-line ISSN 0717-6538

Gayana (Concepc.) v.73 n.2 Concepción  2009 

Gayana 73(2): 222 - 232, 2009








Elly Cordiviola1, Mirta Campana1, Danilo Demonte2, Daniel del Barco3 & Alicia Trógolo1

1Instituto Nacional de Limnología (INALI-CONICET-UNL), Ciudad Universitaria, Paraje El Pozo s/n° (3000) Santa Fe (Argentina);

2Universidad Autónoma de Entre Ríos (UADER), Paraná (E.R) Argentina,

3Secretaría de Medio Ambiente, Ministerio de Aguas, Servicios Públicos y Medio Ambiente de la Provincia de Santa Fe Argentina. E-mail:


The Siluriformes conservation state was quantified by means of the SUMIN index, composed by the sum of 12 outstanding variables for the species survival and/or conservation. An arranged list of the thirty -three Siluriformes species from the Ramsar Site was obtained based on a gradient of conservation necessity. The species were defined as Vulnerable of Maximum Priority: Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, P. f. fasciatum, Luciopimeloduspati and Hemisorubimplatyrhinchos; species Vulnerables of Special Attention: Oxydoras kneri, Ageneiosus valenciennesi, Sorubim lima, Platydoras costatus, Pterodoras granulosus, Sturisoma robustum, Trachydoras paraguayensis and Ageneiosus brevifilis. The remaining species, were qualified as Not Threatened: Corydoras paleatus, Pimelodus ornatus, Loricariichthys anus, Pimelodus albicans, P. maculatus, Hypostomus commersoni, Loricariichthys platymetopon, Pimelodus brevis, Paraloricaria vetula, Parastegophilus maculatus, Trachelyopterus striatulus, T. cf. galeatus, Bergiaria westermanni, Pimelodella laticeps, Liposarcus anisitsi, Otocinclus vittatus, Loricaria simillima, Parapimelodus valenciennis, Pimelodellagracilis, Auchenipterus osteomystax and Hoplosternum littorale.

Keywords: Conservation index, ichthyofauna, South America.


La conservación de Siluriformes se cuantificó mediante la aplicación del índice SUMIN, compuesto por la suma de 12 variables relevantes para su supervivencia y/o conservación. Se obtuvo un listado jerarquizado de treinta y tres especies de Siluriformes, de acuerdo a un gradiente de necesidad de conservación. Se determinaron como especies Vulnerables de Máxima Prioridad: Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, P f. fasciatum, Luciopimelodus pati, y Hemisorubimplatyrhinchos; especies Vulnerables de Especial Atención: Oxy doras kneri, Ageneiosus valenciennesi, Sorubim lima, Platy doras costatus, Pterodoras granulosus, Sturisoma robustum, Trachydoras paraguayensis y Ageneiosus brevifilis. Las especies restantes fueron calificadas como No Amenazadas: Corydoras paleatus, Pimelodus ornatus, Loricariichthys anus, Pimelodus albicans, P. maculatus, Hypostomus commersoni, Loricariichthys platymetopon, Pimelodus brevis, Paraloricaria vetula, Parastegophilus maculatus, Trachelyopterus striatulus, T. cf. galeatus, Bergiaria westermanni, Pimelodella laticeps, Liposarcus anisitsi, Otocinclus vittatus, Loricaria simillima, Parapimelodus valenciennis, Pimelodella gracilis, Auchenipterus osteomystax y Hoplosternum littorale.

Palabras clave: Conservación de índice, ictiofauna, Sudamérica.



Argentina is located inside the zoogeographical Neotropical Region, conformed by hydrographical systems such as Amazon, Orinoco and Paraná-Plata. It possesses all types of climate and physiographic conditions, leading to a wide environmental variety.

The Siluriformes order is the most diverse and widely distributed fish group of the ostariophysi. It comprises 34 families, 412 genera and more than 2405 species. Among them, 1440 species inhabit America, mostly in continental waters. The higher diversity occurs in the tropical and subtropical regions, especially in South America, Africa and South Eastern Asiatic rivers. Siluriformes fishes are appreciated as food as well as for their sportive value.

The Argentinean continental ichthyofauna is very well represented, 400 fish species, from which Siluriformes represent 37,5%, López (2001).

The Convention on Wetlands, signed in 1971 at Ramsar (Iran) is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national actions and international cooperation for the conservation and management of wetlands and their resources. There are presently 159 contracting parties to the convention, with 1847 wetland sites, totaling 181 million hectares, designated for inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance. Jaaukanigás was declared a Site (N° 1112) in 2001, and was the first Ramsar site in the Paraná River in Argentinean territory.

The knowledge of the conservation state of ichthyic fauna is scarce. There are few listings offish species (Del Barco 1997; Cazenave & Bachetta2001), with small reference to their conservation state. Several authors have classified the Argentinean ichthyic fauna, taking into account different fish groups and methodologies (Bertonatti & González 1993; Chebez 2009; Orlandini et al. 2001). Recently Zayas & Cordiviola (2007) applied the numerical index SUMIN and defined the conservation state of the Characidae fishes from Santa Fe Province, Argentina.

Due to the little knowledge on the conservation state of fishes from the Paraná River, it was considered of interest to study this order. This information will be useful for a sustainable use of this Wetland of International importance.

The objective of this study is to quantify, with the application the SUMIN index, the fish conservation state of the order Siluriformes in a Ramsar Site of the Middle Paraná River ("Jaaukanigás"), taking into account biological, ecological, ethological and distributional variables.


Study area

The name "Jaaukanigás" means people of the water in "abipón" language, a reference to one of the local populations who lived there in the middle of the 18th century. It is located in Central Eastern Argentina (Fig. 1), at the northeastern extreme of the Santa Fe Province, in the General Obligado Department.

The geographical coordinates of the site are: 28° 00'N (the limit with Chaco Province), 29° 30'S, 58° 51'W (the limit is the Corrientes Province), 59° 46'W (its natural limit is the navigation channel of the Paraná River) and 29° 3 0 ' S (coincident with the Malabrigo Stream). The area includes 492000 ha with an altitude of 43.8 m above sea level.

The Paraná is one of the largest and more diverse rivers in the world, the second in South America after the Amazon. An extensive complex of rivers, lagoons, pools, permanent freshwater marshes and seasonally inundated grasslands, interspersed with riparian woodlands and gallery forests, make this site one of paramount importance from the biodiversity and hydrological point of view in Argentina. The very rich aquatic life includes about 300 fish species of regional economic importance, as 50% of the population in the area lives of fishing. Sport fishing and ecotourism are important economic activities as well (Parma & Cordiviola 2004)(Fig. 2).

The climate of the site is classified as subtropical humid. The annual average temperature is 19.6 ° C. The annual rainfall ranges between 1000 and 1300 mm, with an annual mean of 1285 mm.

Jaaukanigás belongs to a portion of the Middle Paraná River Basin. The river length in the area is 175 km, and this wetland covers 25 % of the total Middle Paraná River length. This is a characteristic wetland of the Paranaense, Chaqueña Oriental and Neotropical biogeography of the region. The Paraná River develops into an extensive and complex floodplain with a vast environmental heterogeneity and high productivity, favored and modulated by the alternation of floods and low water cycles.

Several lotic and lentic environments in the area (main channel, streams, lagoons, swamps, pools) constitute a set of interface aquatic-terrestrial associates (leaves with grasslands, tall grasslands, gallery forests and palm groves among others). These environments and communities represent one of the highest biodiversity areas not only in the Santa Fe Province but also in Argentina. There we can find 660 species of vertebrates, some of which are endangered species. Several biogeography regions converge in the area with their own typical flora and fauna elements. The southern limit of tropical flora and fauna population (Paranense and Amazonian) use the river as a corridor. The wetland area is an important spawning, developing, feeding and growing site for fish species; some of them using the river channel as a migratory route. Short transverse trophic migrations are registered from the river channel to the lagoons. This water bodies offer shelter and food for their early life stages (Sverlij 2001; Giraudo & Cordiviola 2002).

Figure 1. Location of the Ramsar Site Jaaukanigás (Middle Paraná River) in South America. Details of this site are shown on the right.

Figura 1. Ubicación del Sitio Ramsar Jaaukanigás (Río Paraná Medio). A la derecha detalle del Sitio.

Figure 2. Fish catch with seine in "Los Amores" Stream, Ramsar site Jaaukanigás (Middle Paraná River).

Figura 2. Captura de peces con red de arrastre en el arroyo Los Amores, sitio Ramsar Jaaukanigás (Río Paraná Medio).

Conservation index (sumin)

Fish were caught in lotic and lentic environments from the Paraná River floodplain, where the most important artesanal fishing is done. Several trawls and trammel nets with several mesh size were used for catching fish in this study. The nets were put on at late afternoon and retrieved the next morning.

Thrirty-three Siluriformes species mentioned by Cordiviola et al. (2007) were studied. López et al. (2003) was followed for the systematic classification (Tabla I). The method proposed by Bello & Ubeda (1998), adapted from Reca et al. (1994), was applied considering the SUMIN index, an addition of 12 variables concerning the biology, ecology, ethology and distribution of each species.

The mean and standard deviation were calculated for the group of species under study. To evaluate the conservation state, the species were grouped as follow: the ones whose SUMIN value exceeds the mean plus a standard deviation are considered Vulnerable of Maximum Priority (VMP). Those that fall between the mean and the mean plus one standard deviation are considered Vulnerable requiring Special Attention (VSA). On the contrary, those whose index value is similar to the mean or lower are considered as Not Threatened (NT).

The applied variables are (according to Bello & Ubeda 1998; Zayas & Cordiviola 2007): 1) Continental distribution, 2) National distribution, 3) Amplitude in the habitat use, 4) Width in the vertical space use, 5) Body size, 6) Reproductive potential, 7) Trophic width, 8) Abundance, 9) Taxonomic singularity, 10) Singularity, 11) Extractive actions and 12) Degree of Protection.

Variable 6 (Reproductive Potential), according to Bello & Ubeda (1998), is related to the species capacity to overcome the numeric decrease when the populations suffer perturbations. This was adapted to fishes from the Paraná River. The relative ovocite size was defined as the relationship between the mature ovocite size and the fish length at the first spawning, expressed by thousand (%o). For fishes with ovocites of medium size, the following sequence must be followed: relative ovocite size, fecundity, and ovocite mean number in order to assign the variable (Tabla II).

Variable 12, Degree of Protection, comprised the following conservation units: Seven Argentinean National Parks and three Ramsar Sites located in the La Plata Basin in Argentinean Territory. The Provincial Laws 10967 (1992) and 12212 (2003) were also considered.

The obtained results were compared with other studies in Tabla IV The information for each species considered was obteined from (Almirón et al. 2008; Araujo et al. 2000; Bonetto et al. 1970a and b; Britski et al. 1999; Casciotta et al. 2005; Cazenave &Bacchetta2001; Chebez2009; Cordiviola de Yuan 1980; Cordiviola et al. 1984; Cordiviola de Yuan & Oliveros 1979; Cordiviola de Yuan & Pignalberi 1985; De La Peña 1998; Del Barco 1997, 2000; Destefanis & Freyre 1972; Drago etal. 2003; Gómez etal. 1993,1994; Haro&Bistoni 2007; Le Bailetal. 2000; Liotta 2005;Liottae?«/. 1995,1996; López et al. 2001, 2003, 2008; Marcucci et al. 2005; Menni 2004; Monasterio de Gonzo 2003; Montalto et al. 1999;Nakatamie?«/. 2001; Neves &Ruffino 1998; Oldani et al. 2003; Oliveros 1980; Orlandini et al. 2001; Pignalberi 1967; Pignalberi & Cordiviola de Yuan 1988; Reis et al. 2003; Ringuelet et al. 1967, Ringuelet 1975; Rossi et al. 2007; Rosso 2007; Salinas & Agudelo 2000; Sverlij etal. 1998; Suzuki et al. 2000; Vazzoler et al. 1997; Vazzoler, 1996, Winemiller 1989). The vulnerability and resilience values taken from Froese & Pauly (2009) are also included.


The species were ordered in decreasing order according to their SUMIN value, between 5 and 16 (Tabla III). The SUMIN mean for the Siluriformes considered was 9 ± 3.

Table I. Siluriformes fish species registered in the Ramsar Site Jaaukanigás, Middle Paraná River (Cordiviola et al. 2007). The classification and taxonomic arrangement according to López et al. (2003).

Tabla I. Especies de peces Siluriformes registradas en el Sitio Ramsar Jaaukanigás, Río Paraná Medio (Cordiviola et al. 2007). Para su ordenamiento y actualización taxonómica se siguió a López et al. (2003).

Table II. Reproduction Potential Values estimated for Paraná River fish. * With parental care.

Tabla II. Valores de Potencial Reproductivo estimados para peces del río Paraná. * Con cuidados parentales.

Table III. SUMIN index in Ramsar Site Jaaukanigás Siluriformes fish. In each species are indicated the twelve variable values. 1: Continental Distribution; 2: National Distribution; 3: Amplitude in the Habitat Use, 4: Width in the Vertical Space Use, 5: Body Size, 6: Reproductive Potential 7: Trophic Amplitude, 8: Abundance, 9: Taxonomic Singularity, 10: Singularity, 11: Extractive Actions and 12: Protection Degree. Mean of SUMIN: 9 ± 3.

Tabla III. índice SUMIN de peces Siluriformes del Sitio Ramsar Jaaukanigás. Se indican los valores de las 12 variables en cada especie. 1: Distribución Continental, 2: Distribución Nacional, 3:Amplitud en el Uso del Habitat, 4: Amplitud en el Uso del Espacio Vertical, 5: Tamaño Corporal, 6: Potencial Reproductivo, 7: Amplitud Trófica, 8: Abundancia, 9: Singularidad Taxonómica, 10: Singularidad, 11: Acciones Extractivas y 12: Grado de Protección. Media del SUMIN: 9±3.


The Vulnerable Species of Maximum Priority (VMP) are: Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, P. fasciatum, Luciopimelodus pati and Hemisorubim platyrhynchos.

The Vulnerable Species of Special Attention (VSA) are: Oxydoras kneri, Ageneiosus valenciennesi, Sorubim lima, Platydoras costatus, Pterodoras granulosus, Sturisoma robustum, Trachydoras paraguayensis and Ageneiosus brevifilis

The Not Threatened species (NT) are: Corydoras paleatus, Pimelodus ornatus, Loricariichthys anus, Pimelodus albicans, P. maculatus, Hypostomus commersoni, Loricariichthys platymetopon, Pimelodus brevis, Paraloricaria vetula, Parastegophilus maculatus, Trachelyopterus striatulus, T. cf. galeatus, Bergiaria westermanni, Pimelodella laticeps, Liposarcus anisitsi, Otocinclus vittatus, Loricaria simillima, Parapimelodus valenciennis, Pimelodella gracilis, Auchenipterus osteomystax, and Hoplosternum littorale.


The data obtained from the Ramsar Site Jaaukanigás (SUMIN) were compared with those obtained by other authors applying different methodologies (Table IV).

Bertonatti & González (1993) and Chebez (2009) applied similar methodologies for obtaining the information. They used the classification proposed by the World Union for Conservation of Nature UICN (1990). The first authors made a fish species list, giving categories of conservation, using a qualitative appreciation, and the state of each one.

Chebez (2009) underline the lack of information concerning the distribution of uncertain and rare species. However, in the present work it was possible to obtain these data for all the species considered. Concerning the vulnerability values, taken as a group, results obtained by Froese & Pauly (2009) showed a similar tendency to those obtained by SUMIN.

Within the species considered as Vulnerable of Maximun Priority, results obtained through the SUMIN index is noticeably coincident with the results obtained by the vulnerability value (Froese & Pauly, 2009): Pseudoplatystoma corruscans, and Luciopimelodus pati, very high and high, respectively, and P. fasciatum and Hemisorubim platyrhynchos with a similar state of conservation. The VSA species Oxydoras kneri, Pterodoras granulosus, Sorubim lima, Platydoras costatus and Ageneiosus brevifilis show a similar vulnerability.

The first group of six NT species, with an average value of SUMIN (9) showed a moderate vulnerability for Froese & Pauly (2009). The other species grouped within this category are coincident between methods in their low need for protection.

The results obtained on the Ramsar Site of International Care Jaaukanigás show the presence of twelve Siluriformes species that need special attention of conservation. Among them, the big "surubies" of the genus Pseudoplatystoma and the "armados" (Pterodoras granulosus, and Oxydoras kneri) are of commercial value.

As stated by Bello & Ubeda (1998), and Zayas & Cordiviola (2007), the SUMIN Index is a useful method for evaluating and adjusting knowledge on the conservation offish resources.

Table IV. Comparison of the conservation state of Siluriformes fish from Ramsar Site Jaaukanigas obtained during this study with previous studies. 1: Bertonatti & González (1993); 2: Orlandini et al. (2001), 3: Vulnerability Froese&Pauly (2009), 4: Resilience Froese & Pauly (2009) and 5: Chebez (2009). U= Uncertain; IK= Insufficiently Known; S= Strange; CT= Commercially Threatened; VMP= Vulnerable of Maximum Priority; VS A = Vulnerable of Special Attention; NT= No Threatened; w/d=without data; Me = Medium; Mo = Moderate; L = Low; VH =Very High, H =High.

Tabla IV. Comparación del estado de conservación de los peces Siluriformes del Sitio Ramsar Jaaukanigás obtenidos en el presente trabajo con estudios previos. 1: Bertonatti & González (1993); 2: Orlandini et al. (2001), 3: Vulnerabilidad Froese & Pauly (2009), 4: Resiliencia Froese & Pauly (2009) y 5: Chebez (2009). U= Indeterminada; IK= Insuficientemente Conocida; S= Rara; CT= Comercialmente Amenazada; VMP= Vulnerable de Máxima Prioridad; VSA= Vulnerable que merece Especial Atención; NT= No Amenazada; w/d= sin datos. Me= Media, Mo= Moderada, L= Baja, VH= Muy Alta, H=Alta.


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Recibido: 07.08.09

Aceptado: 01.10.09

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