State of the art of identification of eggs and larvae of freshwater fish in Brazil

Abstract: Aim This study aimed to assist in guiding research with eggs and larvae of continental fish in Brazil, mainly in the knowledge of the early development, as well as to present the state of the art and to point out the gaps and future directions for the development of researches in the area. Methods The literature review was carried out in the electronic platforms and studies were examined to investigate whether any addressed morphological description of fish eggs and/or larvae. Results We found 121 studies, including scientific articles, theses, dissertations, chapters of books and books. This bibliographic production characterized 140 species, representing only 4.1% of the total species present in the Brazilian basins. Most of the species studied belong to the orders Characiformes and Siluriformes, which are of commercial interest and native to the Paraná, Amazon, Paraguay and Uruguay basins. For some very species-rich families in the Brazilian rivers, such as Characidae and Loricariidade, only a fraction of their species was characterized for the early development (2.6% and 0.7% of the total, respectively) and 56% of the families did not present any study addressing the early ontogeny. Regarding the content of the descriptions, for 73 species, there is characterization of the embryonic period and for 62, there is description of the whole larval period. For only 41 species there were complete descriptions (embryonic and larval) of the early development. All of these studies were conducted mainly with material derived from induced spawning and material obtained in the field (regressive series). Conclusions The characterization of eggs and larvae, still presents few studies, limited mainly to species from the rivers of the Plata and Amazon basins, to studies of fish of commercial importance and the incompleteness of most of these studies is still outstanding.