The number of fish species on Earth is greater than that of amphibians, birds, mammals, and reptiles combined — totaling more than 33,000. And now, another 201 freshwater fish have been added to that tally.
The 2022 New Species report, a collaboration between SHOAL, the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, and the California Academy of Sciences, was released on World Wildlife Day and lists freshwater fish across the globe that were described by scientists in 2022.
“It may come as a surprise to some to learn that hundreds of freshwater fish species are described every year,” Kathy Hughes, co-chair of the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group, said in a statement. “But it shows just how much there is for us to learn about what lies beneath the surface of the planet’s freshwaters.”
She added: “More than half of all fish species live in freshwater, which is remarkable considering less than 1% of Earth’s water is liquid freshwater. Yet humans have historically neglected and mistreated freshwater habitats, meaning that many of these incredible species are at risk of being lost. [The report] puts a much-needed spotlight on these species, which will ultimately give them a greater chance of being saved.”
Scroll through the gallery to meet a few of the new species — including the Juan Deriba killifish, which can jump out of the water and live on land for hours to avoid predators; the spookily-named vampire catfish; and a shiny little creature called the beautiful fin darter. Click here to read the full report.