Updated species checklist of fishes from Lake Dongting in Hunan Province, South China: species diversity and conservation.
A lack of an updated checklist of freshwater fish species from Lake Dongting is a great hindrance to further biodiversity analysis. A seasonal survey of fishes in the lake was conducted from October 2017 to January 2019. Based on the data obtained during the field survey and coupled with known literature and the latest taxonomic development of relevant taxa, the species checklist of fishes from Lake Dongting was updated. A total of 130 species from 12 orders, 30 families and 76 genera has been documented, containing 126 native species and four alien species. Its fish fauna is dominated by the Xenocyprididae that has the highest number of included species (30), followed by the Gobionidae (25) and Acheilognathidae (11). This checklist comprises 20 species undergoing nomenclatural changes and 11 new records, eight of which are native and three exotic. It excludes 20 species, which have been reported in error in historical works, due to synonyms, erroneous records, taxonomic changes and unconfirmed records. Unsampled in this survey were 34 species that are ecologically specialised: migratory, rheophilic, predatory, shellfish-dependent or pelagic-egg-spawning. While some of these species eluded capture likely due to the paucity of population, others may have been extirpated in Lake Dongting perhaps owing to human perturbations, such as river damming across affluents or the Chang-Jiang mainstem, sand dredging, overfishing or water pollution. The updated checklist lays a sound foundation for biodiversity conservation of fishes in Lake Dongting.