40 river fish: types, list of names and pictures

The numerous freshwater aquatic ecosystems harbor a unique biological diversity, characterized by their abilities to survive in freshwater environments and by their sensitivity to the physical-chemical changes that the waters in which they inhabit on numerous occasions undergo. These changes are due in many cases to the irresponsible actions that humans commit in river ecosystems around the world. For freshwater fish, conservation protection of their natural habitat is of vital importance, since they fulfill important functions as biological corridors, also acting as semi-permeable membranes that allow and control the flow of matter and energy within the ecosystem.

Types of river fish

To know what types of river fish exist in nature, we can base ourselves on different classifications that attend to different characteristics of these fish. For example, depending on the fat content and nutrients provided by edible river fish, the following are distinguished:

  • White river fish: they have a low fat content, since they do not make great energy efforts to survive in the depths of the rivers in which they live.
  • Blue river fish: they have a higher fat content, due, among other factors, to their great migratory capacity, which requires a high fat and energy intake to survive.

On the other hand, it is possible to classify river fish according to the benefit that humans make of them, thus finding edible river fish and ornamental river fish , such as the colorful guppy fish ( Poecilia reticulata ) and angelfish ( Pterophyllum scalare ). If you want to know more about the different types of river fish and those of other waters, we recommend you to know the Classification of fish with this other article.

In the next sections we will include the names of more species of river fish that inhabit these amazing ecosystems around the world, highlighting some of their most amazing characteristics, such as their ability to go up rivers and spawn in them.

Here are examples of river fish in these lists by country:

River fish of Spain

  • River Needle 
  • Gypsy beard
  • River wolf 
  • Common trout 
  • Sturgeon 

Argentine river fish (Paraná river fish)

  • Goldfish 
  • Sábalo
  • Surubíes 
  • Creole eel 
  • Mojarras

River fish of Peru

  • Acaronia nassa
  • Amblydoras nauticus
  • Landonia latidens
  • Rhamdia jequetepeque
  • Brycon atrocaudatus

River fish of Chile

  • Aplochiton taeniatus
  • Basilichthys australis
  • Galaxias maculatus
  • Odontesthes mauleanum
  • Aplochiton zebra

In this section we offer a list of the names of the largest river fish that exist in various river ecosystems around the world:

  • Arapaima – South America
  • Crocodile fish – North America
  • Mekong giant catfish – Asia
  • White sturgeon – North America
  • Beluga sturgeon – North America
  • Raya motoro, stingray or river chuchuo – South America
  • Paddlefish – North America
  • Pez Perch del Nile – Africa
  • Taimen fish – Asia
  • Bull shark – North and South America. This species is distributed in the North and the South, but it can only be found in river waters in the case of the Amazon River, since in some areas it enters it.
River fish that go up to spawn

Did you know that many fish have the ability to swim upstream great distances to spawn? This is one of the most amazing reproductive strategies in the fish kingdom, in which individuals of various species of freshwater fish , at a certain time of year, their biological clocks indicate the need to swim upstream to ensure their reproduction and survival of their descendants. Some of them even die during the long and strenuous journey against the current that will guarantee the persistence of their species in the wild. Let’s get to know some of these species of river fish that go back to spawn :

  • Eels ( Anguilla anguilla )
  • Chanquete ( Aphia minutes )
  • Gobio ( Gobio gobio )
  • Esperlano ( Osmerus esperlanus)
  • Sturgeon ( Acipenser sturio )
  • Pejerrey (Odontesthes bonariensis)
  • Sábalo (Prochilodus lineatus)
  • Salmon (genus Salmo)

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