Many types of wildlife are endangered. Fish are not an exception and the problem of dwindling fish populations is not limited to any particular place. Examples of endangered fish are found around the globe, such as the smalltooth sawfish in the United States (US) and the Mekong giant stingray in Thailand.
The Alabama cavefish has been listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as endangered since 1988. This species is believed to be limited to the state of Alabama and more specifically to Key Cave in Key Cave National Refuge. The fish has no eyes and is almost transparent. It has been observed that the fish do not generally reproduce annually and that females lay only small numbers of eggs.
The Big Bend Gambusia was listed as endangered in 1967. This endangered fish is believed to be limited to Brewster County in Texas. While reproduction has been observed in laboratory tanks, scientists know little about the fish’s reproductive system other than it gives birth to live babies instead of laying eggs. This fish, which is a member of the Poeciliidae family, is not the only endangered Gambusia. Also on the list are the Clear Creek Gambusia, which was listed as endangered in 1967, and the San Marcos Gambusia, which was listed in 1980.
The smalltooth sawfish is another endangered fish whose existence is believed to be limited to the US. However, this species is distributed in numerous states, including Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina. The smalltooth sawfish was listed as endangered in 2005. Its distinct characteristics include a long, saw-like snout and a skeleton composed of cartilage. One of the biggest threats to these fish is being caught in fishing nets.
The US is not, however, the only country with endangered fish. Thailand’s Mekong giant stingray is also endangered. This is believed to be the world’s largest fish as it has been reported that it can grow up to 1,000 pounds (454 kg). This bottom-dwelling fish is characterized by its flat body and fins that resemble wings. Its existence is believed to be limited to the Mekong and Chao Phraya river systems. Its population is jeopardized, in part, by overfishing.
The Russian sturgeon is an endangered fish believed to be primarily found in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea. This distinctive-looking fish has rows of spines running along its body, which can extend for more than six feet (1.8 m). There are several factors that threaten its population, including the use of its eggs for caviar and overfishing.
The Coelacanth is an endangered fish species that can live up to 60 years. The fish which is found in Indonesia and near the Comoros Islands off of East Africa can also grow up to 198 pounds (90kg). This fish is often called a living fossil and has many interesting features including fins whose movements are described as resembling the legs of a trotting horse.