Data on low dissolved oxygen (DO2) tolerance of freshwater fish species of north-western Europe were used to create species sensitivity distributions (SSD). Lowest observed effect concentrations (LOEC) and 100% lethal concentrations (LC100) data were collected from the scientific literature. Comparisons were made among life stages as well as between native and exotic species. In addition, lethal DO2 concentrations were compared to oxygen concentrations corresponding to maximum tolerable water temperatures of the same species. Fish eggs and embryos were the least tolerant. Juveniles had a significantly lower mean LOEC than adults, but there was no difference in mean LC100 between the two groups. The difference in lethal oxygen concentrations between adults and juveniles was largest for three salmonids, although it remains uncertain if this was a result of smoltification. There were no significant differences between native and exotic species; however, data on exotics are limited. DO2 concentrations converted from maximum tolerable water temperatures were 3·9 times higher than the measured lethal DO2 concentrations, which may reflect changes in respiration rates (Q10) and may also relate to the simplicity of the model used.