Biodiversity in Sri Lanka (LKA)
  FishBase Complete Literature Reference
Species Families Species Families
Marine 917 307 No
Freshwater 23 8 Yes 83 Boswall, J., 1973
Total 940 317 No
Ref.   Boswall, J., 1973
Conservation Knowledge of the status of freshwater fishes in Sri Lanka is very good. The most recent assessment of threats and conservation issues was in 1994 (Pethiyagoda, 1994; Ref. 11966). A full list of Sri Lankan fishes was published in 1991 (Pethiyagoda, 1991, Ref. 6028). The overall conservation status of Sri Lanka’s freshwater fish fauna is poor. The wet zone species are threatened mainly by deforestation and its consequences, while those in the dry zone appear to be subject to increasing competition from exotics and fishery pressure. Fishes in both zones are threatened by increasing use of pesticides . All nine recently-discovered species have very small distributions and are therefore under threat from minor local disturbances. Although it is likely that several other species await discovery, the rate of increase of pressure on this fauna is so high that extinctions are expected. In the long-term the threat to the fauna is severe. None of the native fishes and fish assemblages enjoy protection. None of the species with restricted distributions are located in protected areas. Contact: Rohan Pethiyagoda, Wildlife Heritage Trust, 95 Cotta Road, Colombo 8, SRI LANKA.
Geography and Climate Sri Lanka is a tropical island situated at the tip of southern India, separated from the mainland by the Palk Strait, which is less than 20 km wide in places. Frequent and prolonged connections have occurred between the two land masses in the past. The central area is mountainous with 103 river basins radiating from this area. Less than half of these rivers are perennial. Sri Lanka has no natural lakes but about 2% of the land surface is covered by several thousand irrigation reservoirs. Most of the island is dry and dependent for water on the north-east monsoon from November to February. The south-west quarter of the island, known as the wet zone, receives an additional monsoon from May to September.

Ref.  Pethiyagoda, R., 1994
Hydrography The endemic fishes of the island are, by and large, restricted to the wet zone. This is attributed to the wet zone being a land-island biotope. The wet zone can be divided into two provinces: firstly the more or less contiguous southwest-flowing drainages of the Kelani, Kalu, Gin and Nilwala Rivers; and secondly the land-island province formed by the Knuckle Hills within the northeast-flowing Mahaweli River drainage. The remaining dry zone province of the island contains mostly fish species also shared with India and the wet zone.

Ref.  Pethiyagoda, R., 1994
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