Biogeography of the New Zealand Torrentfish, Cheimarrichthys fosteri (Teleostei: Pinguipedidae): A Distribution Driven Mostly by Ecology and Behaviour

McDowall, Robert M.
June 2000
Environmental Biology of Fishes;Jun2000, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p119
Academic Journal
Cheimarrichthys fosteri is an endemic New Zealand freshwater fish that has its closest common ancestry with the blue cod, Parapercis colias, a species found in New Zealand coastal seas. Cheimarrichthys fosteri is amphidromous, and widely distributed around New Zealand. The fact that it has marine-living juvenile has a strong impact on the species' distribution. Upstream/inland penetration in river systems is substantial, and the torrentfish reaches 700 m elevation and 289 km upstream from the sea. High elevation is typically achieved only at relatively short distances inland, whereas long inland penetration is achieved typically only in low-gradient river systems. The torrentfish is a poor climber, and explicit barriers to upstream migration, such as natural falls and the construction of dams and weirs, limit inland penetration in many river systems. Sparse distribution in some areas, particularly in eastern New Zealand may be due in part to absence or sparseness of riverine gravels. Absence from other areas, such as around Cook and Foveaux straits, the Marlborough Sounds, Fiordland and Stewart and Chatham islands, may result from oceanographic conditions that do not favour return to rivers of the marine-living juveniles. Ecological and behavioural variables relating to the marine life intervals are the predominating factors influencing distribution, and historical biogeographical influences are of minor importance.


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