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Abstract

The European Environmental Agency formulated a biodiversity initiative in 1996 specifying a freshwater stream-monitoring program to inventory, identify and describe aquatic and terrestrial species in European Union countries. With one of the richest freshwater ichthyofaunas in Europe (126 fish taxa: 97 species and 29 subspecies of primary or secondary freshwater fishes), Greece has two extinct fish species, five listed as critically endangered, and 29 considered endangered and/or vulnerable. There are, however, no published identification guides that are available for identifying fish specimens from fresh waters in Greece. We present an English translation of the only available indentification key (in Greek) to 97 fish species (20 families) in fresh waters of Greece. Our intent is to create an illustrated identification guide in the future as new species are identified and ranges of all lotic and lentic species are clarified. In the interim, we believe that the current guide can be used effectively in the field to reduce the number of voucher specimens required to authenticate inventories of the freshwater ichthyofauna of Greece as repeated heavy sampling has the potential to decimate local populations that are already vulnerable.

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