Aaron Jenkins contributed information to this description.



Major Habitat Type

Oceanic Islands

Drainages flowing into

Pacific Ocean



This ecoregion encompasses the Fiji Islands, an archipelago of 322 islands of which Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are the largest.

Terrestrial habitats

There are two terrestrial ecoregions in the Fiji Islands: Fiji tropical dry forests, which cover the west coasts of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu; and Fiji tropical moist forests, which cover the remainder of this ecoregion (WWF 2001).

Description of endemic fishes

The ecoregion contains a handful of described endemics, including Mesopristes kneri, Redigobius leveri, and Schismatogobius vitiensis, and Yirrkala gjellerupi. Lever’s goby (R. leveri) is only known from the upper Lekutu River in Vanua Levu.  There are two additional suspected undescribed endemic pipefishes from the genus Microphis that inhabit streams in Kadavu.

Other noteworthy fishes

Two species are listed species on the IUCN Redlist of endangered species and are extremely rare: the Otomebora mullet (Chelon melinoptera) and the giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus).

Justification for delineation

Fiji was defined on the basis of distinctive (endemic or near-endemic) fish faunas. Fiji was defined on the basis of distinctive (endemic or near-endemic) fish faunas. The islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni can be further distinguished by unique community features including island level endemics for Vanua Levu (Redigobius spp.) and Taveuni (Sicyopus spp.), very rare species (eg. Yirkkala gjellerupi), as well as several nationally unique habitats (eg. Lava tube streams, Taveuni) (Jenkins pers comm. Aug 2005).

Level of taxonomic exploration

Medium-High. While systematic ichthyological expeditions began in Fiji in 1840 with the Lieutenant Charles Wilkes expedition, the vast majority of studies never ventured inland to study the freshwater fauna.  Fowler (1959) provided the first relatively comprehensive overview of fishes from Fiji including some freshwater fauna collected in the lower reaches of Fiji freshwaters, drawing on almost entirely marine and estuarine collections dating back to 1838.  Ryan (1980) was the first to summarize the state of knowledge for brackish and freshwater ichthyofauna where he listed 75 native and 11 introduced species.  This fauna, in addition to freshwater mollusca and crustacea, was then later re-examined by Lewis and Pring (1986) in a report by Division of Fisheries.  Since 2000, Wetlands International-Oceania (Aaron Jenkins) and the University of the South Pacific (David Boseto) along with project partners such as the Wildlife Conservation Society  have surveyed around 90 sites around the Fiji islands, including most major catchments of the largest islands of Viti Levu, Vanua Levu and Taveuni.  This has resulted in a host of new discoveries (Jenkins 2003; Jenkins & Boseto 2005) and a greater in-depth knowledge of the fresh and estuarine fishes of Fiji.


  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2001) \Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World\ "<"">"
  • Fowler, H. W. (1959). "Fishes of Fiji" Suva, Fiji: Government of Fiji.
  • Jenkins, A. P. (2003) \A preliminary investigation of priority ichthyofaunal areas for assessing representation in Fiji’s forest reserve network. Technical report\ Suva, Fiji. Wetlands International – Oceania.
  • Jenkins, A. P. and Boseto, D. (2005). "Schismatogobius vitiensis, a new freshwater goby from the Fiji Islands" Ithyol. Explor. Fresh Wat. 16 (1) pp. 75-82.
  • Lewis, A. D. and Pring, C. K. (1985) \Freshwater and brackishwater fish and fisheries of Fiji\
  • Ryan, P. A. (1980). "A checklist of the brackish and freshwater fish of Fiji" S.Pac.J.Nat.Sci. 1 pp. 59-71.