Khorat Plateau (Mekong)




J. Hales




Pending review.

Major Habitat Type

Tropical and subtropical upland rivers

Drainages flowing into

South China Sea

Main rivers to other water bodies

Mekong River, Mun River, Don River, Banghiang River, Songkhram River, Nam Ngum River, Nam Ngum Lake



This ecoregion includes the Mekong lowlands between Nam Hinboun and Se Done (Laos). 

Terrestrial habitats

The terrestrial ecoregions of the Korat Plateau include: Central Indochina dry forests, Northern Khorat Plateau moist deciduous forests, Luang Prabang montane rain forests, and Southeastern Indochina dry evergreen forests (Wikramanayake et al. 2002).

Description of endemic fishes

The ecoregion contains nearly 50 endemics, including 17 species of Schistura. It also contains several monotypic genera: Laocypris (L. hispida), Troglocyclocheilus (T. khammouanensis, VU), Terateleotris (T. aspro, EN) (IUCN 2012).

Other noteworthy fishes

The ecoregion contains the Mekong giant catfish (Pangasianodon gigas) and Mekong giant salmon carp (Aaptosyax grypus), both of which are particularly large in size and are critically endangered according to the IUCN Red List (IUCN 2012).

Justification for delineation

For Southeast Asia, delineations were determined using a bottom-up approach that employed both published and unpublished field data and expert assessment (Abell et al. 2008; Rainboth 1996). This ecoregion includes, among other features, the Mekong - Mun confluence (now decimated by flow regulation in Thailand), subterranean systems in Phu Khieo (Thailand) and Khammouan (Laos), and a few unique large size species in the Mekong mainstream (Pangasianodon gigas, Aaptosyax grypus) (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2006).


  • Abell, Robin,M.L. Thieme,C. Revenga,M. Bryer,M. Kottelat,N. Bogutskaya,B. Coad,N. Mandrak,S.C. Balderas,W. Bussing,M.L.J. Stiassny,P. Skelton,G.R. Allen,P. Unmack,A. Naseka,R. Ng,N. Sindorf,J. Robertson,E. Armijo,J.V. Higgins,T.J. Heibel,E. Wikramanayake, (2008). "Freshwater Ecoregions of the World: A New Map of Biogeographic Units for Freshwater Biodiversity Conservation" BioScience 58 (5) pp. 403-414.
  • Kottelat, M. (1989). "Zoogeography of the fishes from Indochinese inland waters with an annotated check-list" Bulletin Zoologisch Museum Universiteit van Amsterdam 12 (1) pp. 1-54.
  • Kottelat, M. (1998). "Fishes of the Nam Theun and Xe Banfai basins, Laos, with diagnoses of twenty-two new species (Teleostei: Cyprinidae, Balitoridae, Cobitidae, Coiidae and Odontobutidae)" Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 9 pp. 1-128.
  • Kottelat, M. (2001). "Fishes of Laos" Colombo: Wildlife Heritage Trust.
  • Wikramanayake, Eric,Dinerstein, Eric,Loucks, C.,Olson, D.M.,Morrison, J.,Lamoreux, J. L.,McKnight, M.;Hedao, P. (2002). "Terrestrial ecoregions of the Indo-Pacific: A conservation assessment" Washington, DC: Island Press.
  • IUCN (2012) \IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2\ "<"">" (21 May 2013)
  • Rainboth, W. J. (1996). "Fishes of the Cambodian Mekong" Rome: FAO.