Western Aegean Freshwater Fish explorations: HCMR Yellow Fish project (Xerias Istiaia and the Beotian Kifissos)

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Western Aegean Freshwater Fish explorations: HCMR Yellow Fish project (Xerias Istiaia and the Beotian Kifissos)


Zrias River on the island of Evia. Some of them are sporadic, but there were springs in the delta. Important N2K protected area.

November 13-18: Eastern Central Greece

We sampled fish from river and wetland returns, as well as from unknown areas where there are still significant gaps in our data collection. This is a project to inform and promote HCMR's new Yellowfish project to protect rivers and other bodies of water from human abandonment and neglect. Some of the places we visit are protected areas, others are close to the N2K boundaries but outside of them and do not need to be maintained, conserved or restored at all.

See the launch report for this project (in Greek) here:
Kitrino_Psari_HCMR-IMBRIW_EKPAA

Here are images from a recent electric fishing expedition in the waters of the Western Aegean ecoregion, showing two locations: one north of Evia Island, and the other in Boeotia on the mysterious Kifissos River. Fish finds were found at both sites.


The Xeriada delta in the north of the island of Evia Istia.

Livery Micro and Meglalo (Small and Great Lakes) in the Xerias delta.

A few hundred meters from the mouth of the Xeria River.
Respectfully take a look at the landing net I bought in Albania this summer - I had a really big test on my wrist and thumb in September, now 100% working (I know you might not mind such intricate details... ) .
Zrias bridge and "waterfalls" - a big problem for fish - a common obstacle to migration.

Fish can't come in here Fish can't come in here (get up!) It's a Natura 2000 protected area and we have to take action for some pretty rare and endangered species, that's the priority.

Mullets - Mugilidae - are useful as food for otters (but they can't cross the bridge barrier...).

This is another vulnerable but almost freshwater fish: the blaney ( Salaria fluviatilis ). We found only one specimen, and only under the bridge. You can't get on the bridge... (People are very scared, we didn't find it anywhere else on the Ziriya river, we confirmed it last year).
A new species from northern Euboea: an unknown pygmy goby, probably in the genus Knipowitzia . Whether it was here, not even under the bridge, is not known (but it generally tolerates harsh conditions and can (probably) survive a severe drought).





And... yes, we discovered Barbus euboicus for the first time in the Natura 2000 micro and megabook. In a recent publication, my European colleagues decided that this species is not Barbus Sperchiensis, as was officially believed, but a local rarity of the island: Evia Barbel. The booms also threaten important fish.
We looked at the lakes: the mosquitoes were holboros (oriental mosquitoes) and there were many birds.
Wild mute swans. Everyone loves birds, but what about fish?

Never mind: Egyptian desert cockroaches ( Polyphaga aegyptiaca - female): first time in Greece, more interesting than any swan I've ever seen - any day... Limni is about 45km away. In the south of Istria. Great discussion about food!



River always Kifissos

I must say that we met our good colleague at HCMR, Dr. Christos Anagnosta, at Dodwell's Livadia Lithography, and have worked together in this fascinating and little explored field. I posted the art as a reminder that these landscapes can change a lot, but the natural spring water and open aspects of the cultural landscape still exist. Environmentalists attention!
Mavroneri springs, near the village of Mavroneri. This location is not the one depicted in Dodwell's painting, but it is very similar and in its natural state is a spring-fed wetland.


Mavroneri source.

Walk with Kristo Anagnostou by Melanos Potamos. Beautiful cultural landscape. (Sometimes there are a lot of sheep, semi-fero dogs, wolves and wild boars). Note that this area is about 100 kilometers north of Athens...

The Mavroneri Fountain and the Church of the Divine Waters... John the Baptist (I Giannis).


Always at the Kifissos Davlia station. The waters were clear and slow moving (but I don't think it's a late summer artificial current). There were few fish: low density, few large fish. I put this down to very low water levels in the summer - we had dry conditions in late summer this year (worse than other years). So... the main problem that can arise here is the extraction of water for agricultural needs. This will probably affect the fish population.
Look at the transparency of the water... This is a different type of river, like a group of fish, a community of four species in cold water in winter, in warm water in summer (and the flow drops quickly in summer and in autumn ), but it is very high. Heavy spring flood of snow in the Parnassus region. The river is cleaned and directed to a level, to avoid flooding. But in general, the conditions seem quite semi-natural.
Here it is not easy to taste in a group of three people; An electric fishing reel with a power reel does not work well in water deeper than 1.3 meters. When the fish are covered or covered by natural obstacles -waterfalls, cliffs on the shores, tree roots (...they see us well!-) the intention is to "surprise" them.

The fish of Kifissos... Telestes beticus ( Rif de Vanda Boeocio): the most representative symbol of the region.

Pelasgus marathonicus (little marathon): "swamp minnow" that lives and thrives in slow-flowing river conditions; However, hot water can be added to many sources; Survive!

New Discovery (!!): I freaked out when I saw that finger coming! This is a chubi ( Squalius sp.). We have not found a single chip, or a piece, of Kiphisos. However, the late Alexander Stephanides mentioned a cuttlefish-like creature at nearby Boeotius Asopos, which has not been seen since (see Economou et al. 2007). What could be in this room?
Better look at the chub specimens recently found in Kifisos (they could easily bring modified fish - we don't know). So we're looking at it.
The second most emblematic endemic of the region is Luciobarbus grecus (Greek barbel). It was the most common species, along with the little marathon, which was easily fished.


Luciobarbus grecus (Greek catfish)
Luciobarbus grecus (Greek catfish)
Luciobarbus grecus (Greek catfish)
Potamon fluviatile (Crayfish) is an IUCN Critically Endangered species.
Spray left by otters - Lutra lutra.

Upper Kifissos - with an excellent stretch of Platanus orientalis forest (as well as many other tree species). This place is not included in the perimeter of the Natura 2000 territory.
Mavroneri Springs: This area is not part of the Natura 2000 Diversity Area.










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