J. Hales



Major Habitat Type

Tropical and subtropical coastal rivers

Drainages flowing into

Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, Bohol Sea (Mindanao Sea), Philippine Sea

Main rivers to other water bodies

The Mindanao, Agusan, Cagayan de Oro rivers occur in this ecoregion. Excluding Lake Lanao, the two largest lakes in the ecoregion are Lake Mainit and Lake Buluan.



This ecoregion encompasses the Philippine island of Mindanao, excluding the Lake Lanao basin. It also includes the Sulu Archipelago, which extebds between Mindanao and Borneo.

Terrestrial habitats

The ecoregion is composed of Mindanao montane rain forests on Mindanao; Mindanao-Eastern Visayas rain forests, which extend from Mindanao to Balanguingui Island in the Sulu Archipelago; and Sulu Archipelago rain forests, which extend roughly from Jolo Island to Sibutu Island (Wikramanayake et al. 2002).

Description of endemic fishes

There are nearly 10 recorded endemics, including endemic cyprinids in the genera Puntius and Rasbora. However, it is estimated that this ecoregion may contain as many as 20 endemics (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2006).

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For Southeast Asia, delineations were determined using a bottom-up approach that employed both published and unpublished field data and expert assessment (Abell et al. 2008; Herre 1924, 1953). Except for  Lake Lanao, the fauna consists mainly of marine species entering inland waters or freshwater species derived from marine ancestors (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2006).. There are also a few endemic cyprinids that occur in most basins as well as the islands of Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Basilan, and Zamboanga (which may indicate a possible land bridge).

Level of taxonomic exploration

There are only a few outdated published sources on the freshwater fauna of Mindanao (M. Kottelat pers. comm. 2006).


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Herre, A. W. C. T. (1924). "Distribution of the true fresh-water fishes in the Philippines, I" The Philippine Journal of Science 24 (3) pp. 249-307.
  • Herre, A.W.C.T. (1953). "Check list of Philippine fishes" Res. Rep. U.S. Fish Wild. Serv. 20 pp. 977.