Brian Coad, Jennifer Hales



Major Habitat Type

Xeric freshwaters and endorheic (closed) basins

Drainages flowing into

The ecoregion drains to the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Oman (Sea of Oman), as well as several endorheic basins in the northern part of the ecoregion.

Main rivers to other water bodies

The main water bodies include the Sarbaz, Dasht, and Hingol rivers, and the Tahrud, Jaz Murian, Mashkel, Baddo, and Pishin-Lora endorheic basins.



Baluchistan (or Balochistan) comprises Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan, delimited by the Arabian Sea to the south, the Sulaiman Mountains to the east, the Chagai and Toba Kakar ranges in the north, and the Hazaran massif in the west. It is bordered by the Northern Hormuz Drainages ecoregion [451] to the west, Lower and Middle Indus [703] to the east, and Hilmand-Sistan [702] and Kavir & Lut Deserts [448] to the north.


The plateau of Baluchistan lies at the southeastern end of the Iranian Plateau. It is divided from the narrow Makran coastal plain by the Central Makran Range and the Makran Coastal Range. The ecoregion also includes low-lying internal basins. Elevations range from sea level to over 4300 m.

Freshwater habitats

All streams in the ecoregion are small, many are intermittent, and some dry out completely. Small dams, springs, and qanats are also important habitats.

In the west is the Hamun-e Jaz Murian, which is a marshy lake that is dry for most of the year, but fills with fresh water in winter. It is fed by the Halil and Bampur rivers.

The rivers and streams of the Makran coastal plain drain to the sea at the Straits of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman. Most streams of the Makran, however, have little running water and regularly dry up along much of their length.

Terrestrial habitats

A large part of the ecoregion is rocky desert and semi-desert. There are sand dunes in some parts, but mostly rocky desert and hills with sparse scrub vegetation. There are also isolated areas of surviving natural forest, tree crops, and irrigated farming.

Description of endemic fishes

Three species are endemic to the ecoregion: Indian River shad (Gudusia chapra), Indian potasi (Neotropius atherinoides), and a river loach (Schistura alepidota). Two near-endemic Labeo species (L. gedrosicus, L. macmahoni) have not been recently re-examined in detail.

Justification for delineation

This ecoregion has a transitional nature, which is represented by the distributional limits of certain wide-ranging species.

The ecoregion is also noted for the Bahu Kalat protected area on the coast of Iran and the Zangi Nawar Lake in the north of Pakistan, which has been proposed as a Ramsar site.

Level of taxonomic exploration



  • Coad, B. W. (1996). "Freshwater fishes of Iranian and Pakistani Baluchistan" Biologia 42 (1&2) pp. 1-18.
  • Coad, B. W. (2002). "Freshwater Fishes of Iran" (
  • Scott, D. A. (1995) A Directory of Wetlands in the Middle East IUCN and International Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Bureau : Gland, Switzerland and Slimbridge, U.K
  • Hijmans, R. J., S. Cameron and Parra., J. (2004) \WorldClim, Version 1.4 (release 3). A square kilometer resolution database of global terrestrial surface climate\ "<"[]">" (16 July 2009)
  • Peel, M. C., Finlayson, B. L. and McMahon, T. A. (2007). "Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification" Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 11 pp. 1633–1644.