Archive Contents

Digital Archives of Taiwan Fishes

Project LeaderĄGKwang-Tsao Shao

Executing organization: Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica

Archives DescriptionĄG

Digital Archives of Taiwan Fishes Project, basing on the Database of Taiwan established during NDAP 1st phase, continues revising the contents more effeciently and plans to increase the detailed fish information from 2,000 to >3,000 species. The information concerns of correct scientific names, distribution data, morphology data, taxonomy data, reference, basic description (e.g. life history and utilization), speciemen data collected by international and domestic institutes, and images (e.g. specimen photo, ecological photo, and vedio). The various kinds of data are integrated and maintained through multimedia database techniques, so the public may browse, query, download, and apply the information online. In addition, the establishement of the Fish Database of Taiwan holds a well reputation internationally not only for a successful collaboration with FishBase but also for a devoted integration with TaiBIF. FishBase ( is a well-reputed international website of global fishesis, while TaiBIF ( is the Taiwan national node of Global Biodiversity Inforamtion Facility (GBIF).


The Fish Database of Taiwan is a complex of research data for about 25 years to the Lab of Fish Ecology and Evolution, which is situated in Biodiversity Research Center of Academia Sinica. Since 1999, beginning with a simple model, the Database has been graudally growing up and recorded 298 Family 3053 species now, and about 2,300 species have already presented with detailed description. The number of website hits have also accumulated to ~10 millions. Besides of fish checklists, the Database also integrates >43,000 Taiwanese fish specimen data of 9 institutes from Taiwan and 25 institutes from abroad as well as about 230 thousands of distributaional data. Others such as multimedia materials, references, electronic books, message board, and fish related common knowledge are also available for users.

Accomplished ArchivesĄG

The result of this project has already been open for the public access on the web ( So far, this web includes 292 families and 2,902 species. The "Fish Database of Taiwan" can be linked to the global fish database- "FishBase" of ICLARM, and by using the species names as the primary key, a more detailed information of each species can be obtained, which includes specimen photos, biological information, literatures and other distributional data on particular species in Taiwan (Chinese version) and in the world (English version). Such collaboration between local and global database has shown a good example for local or regional biodiversity database moving toward international cooperation. (Author: Kwang-Tsao Shao)

Many bizarre fishes live in the deep seas of eastern, northeastern, and southwestern Taiwan; a majority of them are lantern fishes, barbeled dragonfishes, rattail fishes, deep-sea anglerfishes and sharks. To adapt to an ocean depth of more than 200 meters, they evolved to have long teeth, stretchable mouth and stomach, light-producing organs, etc. One example, as the picture shows, is Chauliodus sloani of the Stomiidae Family. Their maximum body size can reach 35 cm. They inhabit in the deep sea below 1,000 meters depth, and may swim up into near-surface water at night. Fishes and crustaceans in the midwater are their food. Giant and exaggerated mouth with many inwardly sharp and long teeth makes this fish unique in morphology. Directly swallow preys is the way they eat; and, due to the lack of food in deep sea, their stretchable mouth will swallow whatever get caught even when the prey is larger in size than themselves. Their bodies have many photophores which are believed to attract prey or be used to identify each other or sexes. Some other species may even have luminescent chin barbels that sway to and fro and can lure prey to within reach of their mouth.

Lab of Fish Ecology & Evolution, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica; Photo by Yun-Chih Liao

In the fish world, crypsis is fairly common and is quite useful to make a living, especially for those fish which inhabit coral reefs, such as frogfishes, seahorses, some gobies, and clingfishes. Imitating the coloration or behavior of other species or environment allows these fishes to be good predators or to avoid being preyed upon. In sandy bottoms, no other species can mimic better than flounders. One example, as the picture shows, is Bothus pantherinus, i.e. panther flounder or leopard flounder, which is one of the common flounders in southern Taiwan. Their adults mainly inhabit the coral reefs with sandy bottoms while the young often stay in the tide pools. Most of the time, they are motionless and will disguise themselves in the sand or on the reefs by changing their body color and pattern to match the environment. Occasionally, they will sway their body laterally like waves to move forward to feed on small fishes or crustaceans passing by. The lateral swimming posture is due to the fact that both eyes of flounders lie on the same side of their heads, a unique morphological transformation for their young to become adults.

Lab of Fish Ecology & Evolution, Biodiversity Research Center, Academia Sinica; Photo by Cheng-Yi Tsai


Hsin-Hua Lin

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