Marine and freshwater taxa: some numerical trends
Most of the freshwater fauna originates from ancient or recent marine ancestors. In this study, we considered only completely aquatic non-parasitic animals, counting 25 phyla, 77 classes, 363 orders for a total that should include 236,070 species. We divided these taxa into three categories: exclusively marine, marine and freshwater, and exclusively freshwater. By doing so, we obtained three distribution curves which could reflect the marine species’ mode of invasion into continental waters. The lack of planktonic stages in the benthic fauna of inland waters, in addition to what we know about the effects of the impoundment of epicontinental seas following marine regressions, lead us to think that the main invasion mode into inland waters is more linked to the sea level fluctuations of the past than to slow and “voluntary” ascents of rivers by marine elements.
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