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Ecoregion Description

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Species Richness

# of Endemic Species


612: Koryakia

Major Habitat Type:

temperate coastal rivers


Nina Bogutskaya




This ecoregion includes the Koryakiya Plateau and Northern Kamchatka, which drain to both the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. The ecoregion extends south to include the drainages of the Voyamp’olka and Ozernaya rivers. The northern border follows the southern slopes of the Anadyrskoye Ploskogor’e Upland and northern slopes of the Koryakskiy Range, which divides the Anadyr’ and Bol’shaya drainages (in Anadyr [610]) and Koryakiya rivers. In the northwest, the border with Kolyma [609] (Omolon River headwaters) and Okhotsk Coast [614] (rivers of Gizhiginskaya Guba Bay) runs along the Kolymskiy Range and Taygonosskiy Range on the Taygonos [Tainykot] Peninsula. The southern border (with Kamchatka and Northern Kurils [613]) divides the Ozernaya and Kamchatka river drainages in the east and the Voyampolka and Tigil’ drainages in the west.

Drainages flowing into:

Sea of Okhotsk, Bering Sea (northern Pacific Ocean)

Main rivers or other water bodies:

The main water bodies on the western coast (from north to south) include the Paren’, Penzhina, Kuyul, Talovka, Kuyvivaam, Uyvil’vayam, Enygvayam Rustaya, Tkanpravayam, Shamannaya, Pravaya Lesnaya, Palana, Kakhtana, Voyampolka (Zhilovaya), and Voyampolka (Materaya) rivers, and lakes Talovskoye and Palanskoye. On the eastern coast the main rivers include Il’piveyem, Vatyna, Apuka, Pakhacha, Kultushnaya, Tilichiki, Vyvenka, Anapka, Belaya, Nachiki, Uka, and Ozernaya.


The ecoregion lies on the Koryakiya Plateau and extends from the northern part of the Sredinny (“Central”) Range on Kamchatka to the Koryak Range in the north. Elevations vary from sea level to over 3000 m.


The ecoregion experiences a severe climate with prolonged cold and snowy winters. Snow averages only 30-50 cm in thickness, and does not melt until June. Summers are short and chilly, with the average temperature in July ranging from 10.5° - 12.0 °C. The period without frost lasts approximately three months.

Freshwater habitats:

Rivers are generally short, with the largest basin being the Penzhina River basin. All of the rivers are mountainous in their upper reaches, and have a plain character in their lower reaches. Lakes and anabranches are numerous in the lower part of the Penzhina River floodplain.

Terrestrial Habitats:

Three main terrestrial ecoregions comprise Koryakiya. Bering tundra covers all of the northern half of the ecoregion. In the south Kamchatka mountain tundra and forest tundra occurs in the mountains and Kamchatka-Kurile meadows and sparse forests line the coast. The ecoregion is devoid of arboreal vegetation. Flat and low interfluvial areas are covered by huge swamps with abundant small lakes. Small islands of tundra with elevated relief (130-160 m altitude) occur among the extensive marshes.

Fish Fauna:

The ecoregion contains over 30 native species and one endemic species, Coregonus subautumnalis. The ecoregion resembles the Anadyr [610] in such typical freshwater fishes as Kamchatkan grayling (Thymallus mertensii), round whitefish (Prosopium cylindraceum), pike (Esox lucius), and lake and river minnows (Phoxinus percnurus, P. phoxinus). There are also common euryhaline species such as Arctic lamprey (L. camtschatica), smelt (Hypomesus olidus, Osmerus mordax), capelin (Mallotus villosus), C. anaulorum, broad whitefish (C. nasus), five species of Oncorhynchus, burbot (Lota lota), and two species of stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus, Pungitius pungitius). At the same time, the fauna is characterized by the absence of Salvelinus taranetzi, slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus), and humpback whitefish (C. pidschian); the rarity of Coregonus anaulorum, which is only distributed in the Penzhina River, and broad whitefish; and the appearance of cherry salmon (O. masou, the northernmost populations), whitespotted char (Salvelinus leucomaenis), and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus). Salmonoids dominate the fauna with nearly half of the species. However, there are only a handful of true freshwater fishes. It is unclear why freshwater fishes are so few, despite the fact that rivers have well-developed drainage systems and suitable habitats. To some extent, the ecoregion is intermediate between the Anadyr [610] and Kamchatka and Northern Kurils [613] ecoregions.

Description of endemic fishes:

The endemic Coregonus subautumnalis is a migratory char spawning in the Penzhina River. Specific data is not known.

Other noteworthy fishes:

Coregonus anaulorum is a near-endemic that is distributed in the Anadyr River drainage, rivers of the Anadyr Liman, and rivers of the Sea of Okhotsk coast of Koryakia. It is a relict of the Anadyr Penzhna River system, which in the pre-Pleistocene time flowed into the Sea of Okhotsk.

Coregonus levanidovi is a near-endemic that is only distributed in some rivers of the north and northwest coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk. It is a typical migratory char that is threatened by severe overfishing in its spawning sites.

Other noteworthy aquatic biotic elements:

Freshwater malacofauna is relatively rich and diverse (14 species) , with species living in river catchments of adjacent and remote territories (Kolyma, Chaun, Amguema, Anadyr, the continental coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, North America).

Justification for delineation:

The ecoregion is intermediate between the East Siberian ecoregions (with such typical rivers as Kolyma and Anadyr) and Kamchatka, which has only one primary freshwater fish. Along the Bering Sea coast, the border is clearly defined by a lack of species such as Salvelinus taranetzi, humpback whitefish (Coregonus pidschian), and slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus); and appearance of cherry salmon (Oncorhynchus masou), whitespotted char (S. leucomaenis), and starry flounder (Platichthys stellatus) (the latter two species also occur in rivers along the ecoregion’s Okhotsk coast). The most peculiar river is Penzhina, which supports an endemic species, Coregonus subautumnalis.

Level of taxonomic exploration:



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Glubokovskiy, M. K. (1995). "Evolutionary biology of salmonid fishes" Moscow: Nauka.

Kurenkov, I. I. (1984)"Biological resources of inland water bodies of Kamchatka" In Biological resources of inland waters of Siberia and Far East. (pp. 87-98) Vladivostok: Dal'nauka.

Lyubimova, E. L. (1961). "Kamchatka. Phyisico-geographical review" Moscow: Geographgiz.

Ostroumov, A. A. (1964). "On findings of pike and other freshwater fishes of the Anadyr' zoogeographic district in water bodies of Kamchatka" Vopr. Ichthyol 4(2) 385-386.

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