Fishes of Palestine

Subtitle

Freshwater Fishes in Palestine

Freshwater Fishes in Palestine


By: Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher Khalaf-von Jaffa

Article Reference:

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2013). Freshwater Fishes in Palestine. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 104, August 2013, Shawal 1434 AH. pp. 1-17. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://palestine-fishes.webs.com/

The Origin of Palestinian Freshwater Fishes


The Ichthyofauna of Palestine’s inland waters includes 32 indigenous fish species belonging to eight families and another 14-16 species introduced by man.

Palestine is a meeting point between Africa and Asia and is close to southeastern Europe. As a result, its inland water bodies are populated by fish of diverse origins: Africa, Asia Minor (Anatolia, Iraq, greater Syria), the Arabian Peninsula (and possibly the African Horn) and from the sea (probably relicts from the Tethys Sea period).


The inland water system in our area has changed greatly during the faunal history of the Middle East. Rivers altered their flow direction and water links between various systems were formed and once again severed. Fish species of different origins expanded their distribution areas or were driven out by new invaders. These events shaped the fish fauna in our country (Goren, 1975).


Fish have penetrated Palestine via diverse routes. African species arrived in several waves – most via the Pelusiac (or Pelusian) branch of the Nile River and some possibly via the Mediterranean (Cichlidae). Fish from the Tigris-Euphrates river system reached Mediterranean aquatic networks, such as the Orontes, at a time when these systems were linked. From there they spread to the Litani-Jordan river system when these were connected, which explains how fish from Asia Minor and the Levant penetrated into Palestine. Aquatic systems in the western Arabian Peninsula were once much more plentiful than today and were inter-connected during certain periods. These links reached as far as the southern Dead Sea and were used as a passage route by fish (Goren, 1975).


In addition there are a number of freshwater fish of marine origin (species from the families: Blenniidae, Mugilidae and Anguillidae). Some consider Salaria fluviatilis, a freshwater blenny species par excellence throughout the entire Mediterranean region, to be a relic from the Tethys Sea period (Goren, 1975).

The damage to inland water body habitats


Wetlands are considered extremely sensitive to development processes and are in danger of extinction throughout the world, particularly in arid or semiarid countries such as Palestine. Threats to these habitats result from a number of factors:


1. Increasing exploitation of water sources for human needs. 

2. Drainage of wetlands for agriculture or urban development. 

3. Accelerated exploitation of groundwater reservoirs that leads to the drying of surface water bodies. 

4. Processes of fragmentation and barrier creation between neighboring water bodies or water bodies that were previously linked by continuous flow. 

5. Discharge of effluents and wastewater into stream and riverbeds. 

6. Pisciculture in natural habitats and deliberate and accidental stocking of natural habitats with exotic fish species.

The effect of these factors on the populations of aquatic organisms is also amplified, among other reasons, by the following habitat characteristics: 
a. the dimensions of most terrestrial water bodies are small, with corresponding small fish populations; 
b. many water bodies are regularly or temporarily isolated from neighboring water bodies; 
c. poisons and fertilizers are discharged into water bodies from agricultural and industrial areas and aquatic animals are affected instantly by pollution. 

This combination of sensitivity to detrimental factors and to other side effects of anthropogenic activity has probably brought wetlands throughout the world closer to extinction than any other habitat (Goren, 1975).

Necessary conservation steps


Conservation steps for freshwater fish can only be taken by preserving their habitats from pollution, drainage and structural modifications. Establishing survival (or breeding) nuclei for some of the threatened species should be considered in cases where there is a chance of habitat improvement in the future. In addition, as a result of objective problems in assessing the dangers to or the status of the fish population in a changing environment, a regular fish monitoring system should be established in the entire Palestinian aquatic system (Goren, 1975).

References and Internet Websites:


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Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2007). Rhiniodon typus Smith, 1828 or Rhincodon typus Smith, 1829: The Story of a Scientific Name. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 71, November 2007. pp. 21. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://whale-shark.webs.com/rhiniodontypus.htm
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Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2007). Whale Sharks in Palestinian Waters: Whale Sharks (Rhincodon typus, Smith 1828) near Um Al-Rashrash (Eilat) Beach, Gulf of Aqaba, South Palestine: First Records from the Palestinian Red Sea Coast. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 71, November 2007. pp. 23-26. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Abstract in English and Arabic). http://whale-shark.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2007). An Ocean Sunfish or Common Mola (Mola mola, Linnaeus 1758) caught off the coast of Gaza: The First Record from Palestine, East Mediterranean Sea. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 72, December 2007, pp. 1-16. (Abstracts in English and Arabic). http://www.geocities.com/jaffacity/Gaza_Ocean_Sunfish.html 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2008). Cetacea Palaestina: The Whales and Dolphins in Palestinian Waters. Cetacean Species Guide for Palestine. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 83, November 2008, Thu Al-Qi’ada 1429 AH. pp. 1-14. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://cetacea-palaestina.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). A Longcomb Sawfish (Pristis zijsron Bleeker, 1851) caught off the coast of Dibba, United Arab Emirates, Gulf of Oman. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. Number 88, April 2009, Rabi’e Al Thani 1430 AH. pp. 1-14. http://dibba-sawfish.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr.Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Garra barreimiae wurayahi Khalaf, 2009 : A New Blind Cave Fish Subspecies from Wadi Al Wurayah Pools, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 90, June 2009, Jumada Al-Akhera 1430 AH. pp. 1-15. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://emirati-blind-cave-fish.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Flora and Fauna in Palestine. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 91, July 2009, Rajab 1430 AH. pp. 1-31. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://flora-fauna-palestine.webs.com/ 

 Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Oreochromis mossambicus bassamkhalafi Khalaf, 2009 : A New Mozambique Tilapia Subspecies from Wadi Al Wurayah Pools, Emirate of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 92, August 2009, Sha’ban 1430 AH. pp. 1-25. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://emirati-tilapia.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-von Jaffa, Dr. Norman Ali Bassam (2009). Fauna Palaestina – Part One. A Zoological Journey in Palestine, Arabia and Europe between 1983 – 2006 / Fauna Palaestina – Teil Eins. Eine Zoologische Reise in Palästina, Arabien und Europa zwischen 1983 – 2006. ISBN 978-9948-03-865-8. Erste Auflage/First Edition, September 2009: 412 Seiten/Pages. Self Publisher: Dr. Norman Ali Bassam Khalaf-von Jaffa, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates & Rilchingen-Hanweiler, Bundesrepublik Deutschland. http://dr-norman-ali-khalaf-books.webs.com/faunapalaestinapart1.htm Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Bowmouth Guitarfish (Rhina ancylostoma Bloch & Schneider, 1801) at Sharjah Aquarium, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological
Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Twenty-seventh Year, Number 93, September 2009,
Ramadan 1430 AH. pp. 1-18. http://bowmouth-guitarfish-emirates.webs.com/bowmouthguitarfishuae.htm 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2009). Whale Shark (Rhincodon typus, Smith 1828) Records from the United Arab Emirates between 1989 - 2009. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Twenty-seventh Year, Number 94, October 2009, Shawal 1430 AH. pp. 1-28. Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.
http://whale-shark.webs.com/whalesharkinemirates.htm 

Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Zoologist, Ecologist and Geologist : The Scientific References (1980-2009). http://dr-norman-ali-khalaf-references.webs.com/ 

Khalaf-von Jaffa, Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2010). Fauna Emiratus - Part One. Zoological Studies in the United Arab Emirates between 2004 - 2009. / Fauna Emiratus – Teil Eins. Zoologische Studien in die Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate zwischen 2004 - 2009. ISBN 978-9948-15-462-4. Erste Auflage/First Edition, November 2010: 350 Seiten / Pages. Self Publisher: Dr. Norman Ali Bassam Khalaf-von Jaffa, Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates & Rilchingen-Hanweiler, Bundesrepublik Deutschland.
http://dr-norman-ali-khalaf-books.webs.com/faunaemiratuspart1.htm 

Khalaf-von Jaffa, Dr. Norman Ali Bassam (2012). Fauna Palaestina – Part Two. Zoological Studies in Palestine between 1983 – 2009 / Fauna Palaestina - Teil Zwei. Zoologische Studien in Palästina zwischen 1983 – 2009. ISBN 978-9948-16-667-2. 1. Auflage / First Edition : July 2012, Shaaban 1433 H. 208 Seiten / Pages (Arabic Part 120 Pages and the English Part 88 Pages). Publisher: Dar Al Jundi Publishing House, Jerusalem, Palestine. http://dr-norman-ali-khalaf-books.webs.com/faunapalaestinapart2.htm 

Khalaf-von Jaffa, Dr. Norman Ali Bassam (2013). Fauna Palaestina – Part Three. Zoological Studies in Palestine between 2005 – 2012 / Fauna Palaestina - Teil Drei. Zoologische Studien in Palästina zwischen 2005 – 2012. ISBN 978-9950-383-35-7. Erste Auflage / First Edition : July 2013, Shaaban 1434 H. 364 pages (English Part 350 Pages and the Arabic Part 14 Pages). Publisher: Dar Al Jundi Publishing House, Jerusalem, State of Palestine. http://dr-norman-ali-khalaf-books.webs.com/faunapalaestinapart3.htm 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2013). Garra rufa wadiqana Khalaf, 2013: A New Freshwater Doctor Fish Subspecies from Wadi Qana Nature Reserve, Salfit Governorate, State of Palestine. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 103, July 2013, Ramadan 1434 AH. pp. 1-25. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://palestine-fishes.webs.com/palestine-doctor-fish 

Khalaf-von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam (2013). Taxon Profile: Subspecies Garra rufa wadiqana Khalaf, 2013. BioLib.cz. Biological Library. http://www.biolib.cz/en/taxon/id1059609/ 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2013). Palestine Doctor Fish (Garra rufa wadiqana Khalaf, 2013). EOL. Encyclopedia of Life. http://eol.org/collections/80813 

Khalaf-Sakerfalke von Jaffa, Prof. Dr. Sc. Norman Ali Bassam Ali Taher (2013). Freshwater Fishes in Palestine. Gazelle: The Palestinian Biological Bulletin. ISSN 0178 – 6288. Number 104, August 2013, Shawal 1434 AH. pp. 1-17. Dubai and Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. http://palestine-fishes.webs.com/

Manheim, O., A. Freidberg, D. Graur, M. Goren, Y. Bhnayahu, Y. Yom-Tov and T. Dayan (Editors) (1998). The national collections of natural history at Tel Aviv university - a National Museum of Natural History in the making: The first 60 years. Israel Jour. Zool.44: 1-79. 

Roll U., T. Dayan, D. Simberloff and M. Goren (2007). Characteristics of the introduced fish fauna of Israel. Biological Invasions. 9: 813–824. 

The Jordan Times. Rare fish face extinction as water pumping, pollution degrade habitats. http://jordantimes.com/article/rare-fish-face-extinction-as-water-pumping-pollution-degrade-habitats 

The Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. http://natureisrael.org/