We provide a general compilation of the diversity and geographical distribution of Amazonian fishes, updated to the end of 2018. Our database includes documented distributions of 4214 species (both Amazonian and from surrounding basins), compiled from published information plus original data from ichthyological collections. Our results show that the Amazon basin comprises the most diverse regional assemblage of freshwater fishes in the world, with 2716 valid species (1696 of which are endemic) representing 529 genera, 60 families, and 18 orders. These data permit a view of the diversity and distribution of Amazonian fishes on a basinwide scale, which in turn allows the identification of congruent biogeographical patterns, here defined as the overlapping distributions of two or more lineages (species or monophyletic groups). We recognize 20 distinct distributional patterns of Amazonian fishes, which are herein individually delimited, named, and diagnosed. Not all these patterns are associated with identifiable geographical barriers, and some may result from ecological constraints. All the major Amazonian subdrainages fit into more than one biogeographical pattern. This fact reveals the complex history of hydrographical basins and shows that modern basin-defined units contribute relatively little as explanatory factors for the present distributions of Amazonian fishes. An understanding of geomorphological processes and associated paleographic landscape changes provides a far better background for interpreting observed patterns. Our results are expected to provide a framework for future studies on the diversification and historical biogeography of the Amazonian aquatic biota.
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