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POMPEU, Paulo dos Santos et al. The ichthyofauna of upper rio Capivari: defining conservation strategies based on the composition and distribution of fish species. Neotrop. ichthyol. [online]. 2009, vol.7, n.4, pp. 659-666. ISSN 1679-6225. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1679-62252009000400015.
Although the rio Capivari basin is recognized as an area of great importance for the ichthyofauna, it lacks virtually every basic requirement for the definition of appropriate conservation strategies, since not even its species composition is known. The objective of this work is to determine the composition and distribution of fish species in the upper rio Capivari basin, relating them to the local physical features, and to evaluate the effectiveness of proposed conservations units, delimited based on areas of native vegetation remains, on the conservation of local ichthyofauna. During 2007, 50 different watercourses were sampled with gillnets, cast nets and kick nets. A total of 1308 individuals belonging to 41 species were captured. Degree of conservation, altitude and width were the parameters that best explained fish species richness. Considering the recently proposed boundaries for potential conservation units in the region only 15 or 20 out of 41 species would be found in the State Park and Environmental Protection Area respectively. In practice, the proposed conservation units would not be effective tools for fish conservation, since it would be located in mountainous areas of high altitude, of headwaters streams and where few species are found. In such context, the conservation of specific stretches of larger rivers is critical.
Keywords : Conservation units; Altitudinal gradients; Rio Grande; Reserve design.