An update on the status of native and exotic freshwater fishes of Italy


  • P. G. Bianco

    Corresponding author
    1. Dipartimento di Biologia, Università Napoli, Naples, Italy
    • Author's address: Pier Giorgio Bianco, Dipartimento di Biologia, Via Mezzocannone, 8, Università Napoli, I-89132 Napoli, Italy.


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An updated, corrected checklist of both native and established alien freshwater fish species in Italy is given based on molecular, morphological and biogeographical data. Some 12 native species, reported as conspecific with transalpine species in official Italian ichthylogical literature, are in fact endemics. Previous taxonomic confusion has resulted in the introduction of several alien species, either with official stockings or mixed in as impurities. Rehabilitated species include the cyprinids Scardinius hesperidicus, Scardinius scardafa and Telestes savigny from northern Italy, as well as Squalius ruffoi and the Telestes comes from southern Italy. Squalius albus is a junior synonym of S. squalus. The endemic gudgeon, previously assigned to the genus Romanogobio, is returned to the genus Gobio (G. benacensis). Phoxinus lumaireul is a junior synonym of P. phoxinus. Among the Salmonidae, Salmo cenerinus is a junior synonym of S. marmoratus, while Salmo farioides represents the trout species of the Adriatic lineage for which a neotype is designated. Thymallus aeliani represents the endemic lineage of grayling of the Adriatic populations. The esocid Esox cisalpinus is an endemic pike species and Esox flaviae is a junior synonym; the extensive exportation as well as the presence of this species throughout Europe is possibly due to humans. Among sculpins, Cottus scaturigo and C. ferrugineus are junior synonyms of C. gobio. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) categories for native species of Italy are updated. At present, 52 native freshwater fish species are listed: 2 are extinct (Acipenser sturio and Huso huso), 12 are critically endangered, 7 endangered, 10 vulnerable, 3 near-threatened, 15 low concern and 3 data-deficient; 35 species are the result of human transfers. Among the 51 introduced species, 6 are recently established (Leuciscus leuciscus, Oreochromis niloticus, Poecilia reticulata, Xiphophorus helleri, Amatitlania nigrofasciatus, Hemichromis sp.), 37 are already established, 5 are probably established and 3 are non-established Chinese carp, maintained in the wild by intensive stockings. The family most involved is the Cyprinidae, with 22 alien and 20 native species.