Fish of Lake Baikal
Ichthyofauna of Lake Baikal was formed as a result of fish invasion of diverse faunal complexes at different time and evolution of the native fauna of the lake. In Lake Baikal, there are 54 species and subspecies of fish, including introduced species, which belong to 15 families and 5 orders. All fish of Lake Baikal belong to three groups (complexes): Siberian, Siberian-Baikal and Baikal.
The Siberian complex is represented by common Siberian species inhabiting the littoral zone, bays and sors of Lake Baikal. These fish called as sor fish are mainly carps, perches and pikes. Moreover, introduced species such as European carp, catfish and bream also belong to this group.
The Siberian-Baikal complex is represented by grayling, whitefish and sturgeon which live in the littoral zone of the lake up to 300 m and migrate to the pelagic area of the open part of Lake Baikal in summer-autumn.
Representatives of the Baikal complex prevail in the lake – 56% of the total number of species and 80% of the fish biomass. The complex consists of 29 species of cottoid fish among which 27 species are endemic. These fish inhabit the coastal water line up to maximal depths. Littoral cottoid fish are observed with representatives of other groups. They serve, on the one hand, as food for them, and, on the other hand, as competitors in food consumption.
The section on fish is based on papers by V.M. Yakhnenko (2002) and N.I. Kozlova (2001). We are very thankful to I.B. Knizhin for his consultations on systematics of Siberian fish.