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Barred Topminnow (Quintana atrizona)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 170515457

Conservation actions for the critically endangered endemic Barred Topminnow Quintana atrizona and associated ichthyofauna on Isla de la Juventud, Cuba

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 170515457) - Barred Topminnow - Awarded $4,100 on September 14, 2017

The Cuban archipelago stands out by having the richest vertebrate diversity and the richest freshwater fish fauna in the West Indies, with 40% of endemism. Western Cuba is by far the center of adaptive radiation of freshwater fishes. In fact, most Cuban endemic species are restricted to a few localities in this region. With a land surface of over 2,400 km2 and 50 km away from the main island, Isla de la Juventud is the second largest island of the Cuban archipelago. Over 70% of the 19 freshwater fish species occurring on this island are Cuban endemics, at least 7 are regional endemics to western Cuba, and one monotypic genus is nowadays restricted to this island.

The Isla de la Juventud is probably the only known place in Cuba where the Barred Topmminow, Quintana atrizona, can be found. This species was evaluated as Endangered in the Red Book of Cuban Vertebrates (2012). Nonetheless, according to its current small geographic range and the current habitat fragmentation, introduction of invasive piscivorous species, and water pollution, this species fulfills the IUCN criteria for Critically Endangered. The rivers, streams and lagoons of this island also harbor an associated freshwater fish fauna that includes several threatened regional endemic species such as the Cuban Gar (Endangered), the Cuban Killifish (presumably Endangered), the Cuban Amphidromous Fish (presumably Endangered), and the Smallfinger Topminnow (presumably Vulnerable).

The major aims of this project are:
1) To collect baseline ecological information
- To characterize basic habitat requirements of Quintana atrizona
- To conduct a rapid assessment of the associated freshwater fish fauna
2) To assess the conservation status of Quintana atrizona
- To update its distribution range
- To identify natural and anthropogenic threats
3) To collect tissue samples for further genetic studies
4) To develop an awareness-raising campaign promoting the knowledge and conservation of Cuban freshwater fishes and their habitats.

Project documents