Composition of the ichthyofauna in Brazilian semiarid reservoirs

<div><p>Abstract The scale of impact that the São Francisco River transposition project will have on the drainage basins ichthyofauna is still unclear, however, changes in the fish community diversity and abundance is probable. Surveys and registries of the fish fauna within key systems of the catchment basins are priority actions for the conservation of the aquatic diversity. This study conducted a taxonomic survey of the Epitácio Pessoa (Boqueirão municipality) and Argemiro de Figueiredo (Itatuba municipality), reservoirs ichthyofauna, both belonging to the Paraíba do Norte River basin, important socioeconomic and environmental systems for the transposition project. Monthly sampling was carried out between October/2014 to September/2015 in the upstream and downstream zones of the reservoirs. The specimens were collected using dip nets, drag nets, and sieves, and placed on ice in the field. Later in the laboratory, they were transferred to 10% formaldehyde and then preserved in 70% alcohol. A total of 2,328 specimens were collected representing five orders, 14 families, and 31 species in both systems. At the upstream zones 2057 specimens were collected representing 17 species, and at the downstream zones 271 specimens were collected representing 24 species. Of the 31 species recorded, 13 species are endemic to watersheds that drain rivers from the Brazilian semi-arid region, and seven species (Apareiodon davisi, Characidium bimaculatum, Hypostomus pusarum, Parotocinclus jumbo, P. spilosoma, Pimelodella enochi, and Prochilodus brevis) are endemic to the Mid-Northeastern Caatinga Ecoregion (MNCE). Among the latter, Parotocinclus spilosoma and Pimelodella enochi are endemic to the Paraíba do Norte River. Apareiodon davisi is classified as Endangered according to the current published Brazil’s official list of endangered species of fish and aquatic invertebrates. This pre-transposition ichthyofaunistic survey will serve as a basis for future post-transposition analyzes, considering this action will change the scope of the ecosystems diversity.</p></div>