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Ecoregion Description

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Species Richness

# of Endemic Species


431: Central Anatolia

Major Habitat Type:

xeric freshwaters and endorheic (closed) basins


Brian Coad




This ecoregion covers the Central Anatolia inland drainage basin, which includes the Lake Tuz and Konya basins. It is surrounded by the Northern [430], Southern [432], and Western [429] Anatolia ecoregions in the center of Anatolian Turkey.

Drainages flowing into:

A series of endorheic basins on the Anatolian Plateau.

Main rivers or other water bodies:

The main lakes in the ecoregion include the Tuz, Beysehir, and Eber. Çarsamba River is the primary river, and flows out of Beysehir Lake.


The open central or Anatolian Plateau lies between the northern Pontus and the southern Taurus mountain ranges, without major mountain ranges itself. The plateau is isolated from coastal regions and is over 500 m almost everywhere.


The Anatolian Plateau experiences a continental climate with cold winters and hot, dry summers. Mean annual temperature is around 10 ºC. Annual precipitation averages around 400 mm in most places.

Freshwater habitats:

Central Anatolia contains several major lakes with other minor lakes and small streams. Tuz Lake is saline. Sudden storms can cause flash floods.

Terrestrial Habitats:

The ecoregion lies on part of the Anatolian Plateau, a plain of semi-desert or steppe with a number of depressions harboring water. Rivers are incised into this plateau surface. Tuz Lake is surrounded by salt-encrusted marginal steppe. The landscape is mostly dry farming with some irrigated land and tree crops, deciduous forest, and some mixed forest in the west.

Fish Fauna:

The ecoregion comprises more than 25 species in only seven families. This is poorer in diversity than neighboring ecoregions that have outlets to the sea and a more diverse fauna, partly derived from marine taxa. The fauna is dominated by Cyprinidae with roughly 60% of the species.

Description of endemic fishes:

There are nine endemic cyprinids, including species from the genera Gobio, Pseudophoxinus, Alburnus, Chondrostoma, and Squalius. Cobitis bilseli is the only other endemic species from the Cobitidae family.

Other noteworthy aquatic biotic elements:

Endemic snails and mussels are recorded from the Anatolian Plateau.

Ecological phenomena:

The arid plateau has numerous basins that have variously been connected in the past. This has presumably led to isolation and speciation.

Evolutionary phenomena:

This ecoregion is a center, along with Southern Anatolia [432], for species radiation in the genus Pseudophoxinus.

Justification for delineation:

The ecoregion contains a high level of endemism and speciation in the Cyprinidae family in isolated basins. Sultan Marsh near Kayseri is a Ramsar site. The cyprinids Pseudophoxinus anatolicus, P. crassus, Alburnus akili (now extinct), Capoeta pestai, and the cyprinodonts Aphanius anatoliae and A. transgrediens are in the Red List (IUCN 2009).

Level of taxonomic exploration:


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