A. AHMAD & A.R. KHAIRUL-ADHA (2007)
FRESHWATER FISHES OF SABAH AND SARAWAK
Sabah and Sarawak has perhaps over 100 and 200 species, respectively. It is difficult to provide a close estimate of the diversity as many studies are still in progress or about to begin.Therefore, the figures currently available for Sabah and Sarawak are poor estimates. The twostates are believed to harbor more than what we currently know of their ichthyofauna diversity.This low number merely reflects the lack of inventory studies. For Sabah, Chin (1990) listedthe number of freshwater fish species
155, including 12 exotic species. Martin-Smith &Tan (1998) acknowledged that the true number of freshwater fishes in Sabah is probablymuch higher.Sabah is probably better known for its freshwater fish diversity based on the work of RobertF. Inger & P. K. Chin, the Freshwater Fishes of North Borneo (1962) and a subsequentsupplementary chapter in 1990 (Inger & Chin 1990). Apart from this, there were no other major taxonomical studies/revisions nor were there many comprehensive collections made— much of the research in the state were ecological in approach. Specialist collections at localizedareas however, yielded interesting results (Chin & Samat 1992, Chin & Samat 1995). Work by Martin-Smith & Tan (1998) has significantly contributed to the understanding of ichthyofauna in eastern Sabah. Two new species of the genus
had been describedrecently (Tan & Martin-Smith 1998).Unlike Sabah, the freshwater fishes of Sarawak have never been the subject of any major research endeavor. Scattered studies were conducted mainly on documenting the fish faunathat were affected by development as part of the requirement of Environmental ImpactAssessment (EIA). Again, focus was given to major rivers in the state and many isolated andinland water bodies were left unexplored. Watson & Balon (1984) conducted a survey alongthe Baram River but much of the associated taxonomic work was ignored. The listing of species that occurred in the River drainage, including those that occurred in Brunei, can befound in Kottelat & Lim (1995). This listing is probably the only major publication for thestate of Sarawak. Several new species including a
, a freshwater puffer fish
and ananabantoids fish had been described in the last decade from the state.
AREAS WITH KNOWN DIVERSITY
Previous studies on the freshwater fishes of Peninsular Malaysia were mainly conducted atTaman Negara (King Edward’s National Park) (Zakaria-Ismail 1984, Tan & Hamzah 1990).Following this, at least four major rivers were surveyed and among them, only Sungai Pahangcan be regarded as being thoroughly surveyed (Khan
1996) and the fish collection properlycatalogued and identified to the taxon level!Fish survey along a tributary of Sungai Terengganu was made prior to the construction of theKenyir hydroelectric dam more than two decades ago. Cramphorn (1983) visited several sitesand the materials collected might be available elsewhere. The fish diversity along SungaiPerak and Sungai Kelantan have been documented by T.I. Kvernevik but these are not complete.A major gap is recognized and a more thorough survey is urgently required.