Cobitis levantina 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cobitidae

Scientific Name: Cobitis levantina Krupp & Moubayed, 1992
Common Name(s):
English Orontes Spined Loach
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2014. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 10 March 2014. Available at: http://

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v)+2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2013-01-24
Assessor(s): Freyhof, J.
Reviewer(s): Ekmekçi, F., Özuluğ, M. & Smith, K.
This species is known only from the uppermost Litani river basin in Lebanon and Orontes (Asi) river drainage in Syria and Turkey. The species has experienced a serious decline since the late 20th century due to the desiccation of the Asi drainage in Syria and of lake Amik in Turkey and is now rare and restricted to five separate subpopulations. The majority of the population decline occurred more than a decade ago (three generations is less than 10 years). Climate change (strong decline in rainfall in the area), and increasing human populations and growing economies will lead to an increase in the use of water resources which will decrease the amount of water available for biodiversity. As this species seems sensitive to strong pollution and it is quite a habitat specialist, further declines are strongly expected. The remaining area of occupancy (AOO) is estimated to be 300 km², with the extent of occurrence (EOO) less than 1,000 km². It is found in five locations (based on water abstraction as the major threat) and there is continuing decline in habitat quality due to water abstraction and pollution. Therefore the species is assessed as Endangered.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Uppermost Litani river basin in Lebanon and Orontes (Asi) river drainage in Syria and Turkey.
Countries occurrence:
Lebanon; Syrian Arab Republic; Turkey
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:300Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:300-1000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):Yes
Number of Locations:5Continuing decline in number of locations:Yes
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The species is suspected to have experienced major population declines in the late 20th century (1980s onwards) due to the desiccation of the Asi drainage in Syria and of lake Amiq in Turkey. In the 21st century, there are only only five subpopulations left. In Syria and Lebanon they are small and the species is usually rare within its habitat. It is more abundant in the lower Asi in Turkey, where it also inhabits artificial water bodies. A decline is suspected to be still ongoing due to the massive threats in the area.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It lives in lowland river and small irrigation canals with silty bottom and few submerged vegetation.
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not used directly by humans.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Water pollution, especially in Syria, and massive water abstraction are the major threats to this species. In combination with climate change induced less rainfall, this leads to extremely degraded habitats and restricts the species to few sites.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: None known to be in place. Generally the situation of freshwater biodiversity in the Asi basin is critical, especially as a growing population has to cope with less and less water due to climate change. Conservation planning seems to be only possible in Turkey due to political reasons in Syria. There large spring areas should be protected and water resources should be managed also for biodiversity.

Citation: Freyhof, J. 2014. Cobitis levantina. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T61390A19010687. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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