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Below Water in China

by Oliver  |  October 27, 2011

As far as native fish go, China is the great unknown. There is almost no information on China’s native fishes. And even less about its’ quickly disappearing natural habitats. The burden of a quickly growing middle class and demand for resources is threatening many of China’s freshwater habitats. Amid the urban sprawl of China’s mega cities not many of the rivers remain unchanged, but away from the population centers in Szechuan province some spectacular habitats remain.

The most interesting habitat is the lakes region in Jouzhaigou, but it is alpine, with cold water and not much diversity. The recent photos in National Geographic also show this beautiful habitat. As China discovers an interest in tourism many people are visiting this region, but the tourism infrastructure seems to be able to support this traffic of curious visitors for now.

More diverse is the Karst region near Guilin. Here the Li river and its tributaries wind between spectacular Karst formations. The increasing population along the rivers is weighing heavily on the natural habitats, and many seem on the verge of destruction, but for now some of the most impressive landscapes and beautiful habitats are found in this region.

Photographs on the left, top to bottom:

• Cobitis sinensis in the sandy bottom of the Li river

• Traccathichthys pulcher, a beautiful small loach from Eastern China

• Rhodeus ocellatus bitterlings laying eggs inside a live clam.

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