Hillyard, S.D., Podrabsky, J.E. and van Breukelen, F.
Riesch, R., Tobler, M. and Plath, M.
Desert fishes may seem paradoxical, but there is an extensive and diverse ichthyofauna associated with deserts around the globe. Examining the distribution and biology of extant species allows the generation of hypotheses that address questions about how desert fishes evolved and persist in what appear to be inhospitable environments. Desert fishes are usually hardy fish that persisted through the desertification process. Patterns of dispersal and vicariance can vary between sympatric taxa suggesting differential exploitation of stochastic events. For instance, one fish species may have used a dispersal event to occupy a new region whereas another species did not. Oftentimes, stepwise patterns of dispersal and vicariance occur that correlate with profound geomorphological changes. Fish that evolve rapidly radiate into distinct taxa whereas fish that more robustly avail themselves of dispersal opportunities persist with wider distributions. The accelerated and profound alterations of anthropogenic influences on dispersal, vicariance, and environmental change for desert fishes represent severe threats to their continued survival.