Look up an image:
Explore by theme vêtements
Fauna of aquatic environment

Inhabitants of the aquatic environments of Asia and Oceania

Many great rivers in Asia begin in the glaciers of the tall mountains of Tibet and the Himalayas. That is the case of the Yangtze River, a giant measuring 6,300 km long, as well as India’s sacred Ganges River. The Asian continent hides other aquatic treasures, such as the deepest lake in the world, Lake Baikal, which has a depth of 1,680 m, as well as the largest lake, the Caspian Sea, which has a surface area of 370,000 km2. The saltiest lake in the world, the Dead Sea, is also found in this part of the world. Unfortunately, the ecological balance of many lakes and watercourses has been disrupted by giant dams, agricultural activities and high levels of pollution due to a fast-growing human population. Rare animals, like freshwater dolphins, manage to survive one way or another.

Asia

Asia




Oceania

Oceania




The kingfisher


Found in aquatic environments on just about every continent, the kingfisher is recognized by its acrobatic and quick flight (45 km/h). Perched high in a tree, this excellent fisher spots small fish below and then dives for them. Crashing through the water’s surface, the bird uses its long beak to seize its prey, and then swallows it whole, always in the direction of the scales, meaning head first.


The kingfisher


The elegant water shrew


The elegant water shrew has adapted well to the cold, fast-moving waters of torrents. This is where the Asian mammal captures its prey, which are aquatic insects, crustaceans and small fish. The elegant water shrew measures about 10 cm long and has webbed toes, waterproof fur and suction pads on its paws to help it grip slippery stones.

Shrew


The glass catfish


The glass catfish


The glass catfish lives in freshwater in Southeast Asia. Lacking scales and body pigment, it is almost transparent, which is why it is sometimes called the ghost fish! Looking at it closely, it is possible to distinguish its skeleton as well as a few organs. When it is immobile in its environment, however, this small fish, which measures about 15 cm in length, can go completely unnoticed.



The water strider


Most species of water striders live on the surface of stagnant waters in Asia, Europe and North America. As its name indicates, this insect glides gracefully over the surface of the water without ever sinking, thanks to small, water-repellent hairs on its ventral side. It uses its short front legs to capture small insects, while its much longer middle and hind legs serve as oars and a rudder.

The water strider


The platypus


The platypus

The platypus is an unusual mammal measuring about 50 cm long that is found only in the small watercourses of eastern Australia. It has a tail like a beaver, webbed feet and a duck’s bill, which it uses to dig at the bottom of the water to search for small invertebrates. The platypus also has two features that are extremely rare among mammals: the females lay eggs and the males are equipped with venomous spurs.



The retreat of the aral sea


The rivers that used to feed the Aral Sea have been diverted to irrigate immense cotton plantations. As a result, the Aral, which was once one of the largest inland seas, has lost almost 75 percent of its water! Towns that used to be situated on its shores are now tens of kilometers away from the water. The shortage of freshwater caused by the diversion has led to an increased concentration of salt in the sea, to the point of killing practically all aquatic life. It is a true ecological disaster!


Also see

The "Animal Kingdom" section
The fauna of aquatic environments of North America With a multitude of watercourses and many large lakes, North America has immense reserves of water. [...]
The fauna of South America's aquatic environments South America is irrigated by large rivers, which include the Oronoque, the Paraná and the Amazon, a multitude of smaller rivers and abundant rains. [...]
Put it in its place: water pollution
SHARE THIS ENCYCLOPEDIC CAPSULE