2014 Expedition to the Dué River, Ecuador

Overview

In December 2014, at the request of the Inter-American Investment Corporation, I led an inventory of fishes and macroinvertebrates from 500 to 700 m above sea level in the Dué River, a right-bank tributary of the Aguarico River, which is part of the Napo River drainage in northern Ecuador.

Joining me in this fieldwork were Ecuadorian fisheries biologist Fredy Nugra Salazar (Curator of Fishes at the University of Azuay Natural History Museum in Cuenca), river ecologist Daniela Rosero and macroinvertebrate biologist Jose Schreckinger (both from the University of San Francisco in Quito). The habitats we surveyed had been surveyed once before by an Ecuadorian consultant who had identified only eight species, none of which were migratory, whereas we recorded 39 species, four of which were migratory. Results such as these are essential to undertanding and mitigating dam impacts by, for example, constructing and operating a fish passage system suitable to the biology of each species.

Work

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1. A misty morning as we depart our hotel in Quito. 2. The only passable bridge across the Dué at the time of our study. We crossed this everyday to reach our sample sites, oftne having to avoid collision with horses and motorcycles. 3. The swollen Dué River just after a rain event. 4. Fredy samples the surging river with his dip-net. 5. Jose collects stream habitat data. 6. Fredy and Byron proudly display their catch: an Aguarunichthys torosus, a rare Andean pimelodid catfish. 7. Fredy, Byron and Ismael set a trammel net. 8. Gut contents of the Aguarunichthys: a rubernose pleco, Chaetostoma breve. 9. Admiring two handsome specimens of Chaetostoma cf. anale. 10. The muddy, brown Aguarico River (top) joins the relatively clear Dué River (bottom). 11. Electrofishing in the Dué River. 12. Electrofishing in a tributary of the Dué. 13. Mounting my first horse in over a decade, for the trip up a very poor trail to the community of San Pedro del Chaco. 14. Our team plus local residents just after arriving in San Pedro del Chaco. 15. Setting a trammel net in the Dué River near San Pedro. 16. A soup made from Chaetostoma in San Pedro. 17. An Aguarunichthys that was fileted both to provide food for us to eat and to prepare the specimen for skeletonization. 18. Electrofishing in the Dué River. 19. Our team just before departing from the Dué River.

Fishes

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1. Astyanax sp. 2. Charax tectifer3. Creagrutus kunturus4. Creagrutus sp., 5. Knodus gamma, 6. Moenkhausia naponis, 7. Male (top) and female (bottom) of a new species and possible new genus of Glandulocaudini (Stevardiinae) closely related to Scopaeocharax, with (8.) an elargement of the modified caudal scale and fin of the male. 9. Male (top) and female (bottom) of Characidium cf. zebra. 10. Hoplias malabaricus, 11. and 13. Lebiasina elongata, 12. Leporellus vittatus, 14. Parodon sp., 15. Astroblepus sp., 16. Gymnotus n.sp., 17. Cetopsis montana, 18. Cetopsorhamdia cf. molinae, 19. and 20. Chaetostoma cf. anale, 21. Chaetostoma cf. platyrhyncha, 22. Hypostomus niceforoi, 23. Cochliodon pyrineusi. Scale bar for all photos = 1 cm.

This fieldwork was funded by the Inter-American Investment Corporation.

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