The fish species living in the freshwaters of the São Paulo state (393) are distributed among four major river basins: upper Paraná, Paraíba do Sul, Ribeira de Iguape and a set of small coastal drainages flowing directly into the Atlantic Ocean. Since these river basins drain areas with distinct vegetation types, soils, etc., each one has a different species composition. In the Upper Paraná the large Rio Paraná and some of its large tributaries (Tietê, Paranapanema, and Grande) contain large species that support commercial fisheries, however, 70 to 80% of the ichthyofauna is composed by small species found in small streams, including those in headwaters where many are endemic. The inventory of the ichthyofauna greatly benefited from three research projects supported by the BIOTA/FAPESP program, but much work remains to be done to collect and describe new species from areas such as deep channels, headwaters and marginal and swampy áreas around ponds and man-made lakes and reservoirs. The ichthyofauna of the São Paulo State has suffered from deforestation, sewage, damming of rivers for construction of power plants, urbanization, etc., so that 66 species are currently considered threatened at various levels according to the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).
fresh water fishes; biodiversity of the State of São Paulo; BIOTA/FAPESP Program