Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt

Marine Zoology

With more than 50,000 nominal and about 34,200 valid species, fishes are the largest group of vertebrates. There are more fish species than species of all other vertebrates combined. Fish-like vertebrates inhabit earth since more than 450 million years, and they are far older than dinosaurs. They developed a tremendous variety of body shapes and succeeded in colonizing almost any aquatic habitat from streams high up in the mountains to the greatest depths of the oceans. To many ecosystems they contribute most of the animal biomass and they are of outstanding economic importance.

The Ichthyology Section (”ichthys“= Greek “fish”) deals with the scientific study of fishes and fish-like vertebrates, including bony fishes (Osteichthyes), cartilaginous fishes (Chondrichthyes) and jawless fishes (Agnatha). Taxonomic and systematic studies focus on selected taxa, and comparative morphology is complemented by molecular genetic studies on phylogeny and population genetics, ecology and biogeography. Research includes freshwater and marine fishes. The major geographic focus of current research at the Ichthyology Section is the Arabian Seas Region and freshwater bodies of the Middle East and of Northern Africa, regions that have already been studied by the founder of the section, Eduard Rüppell, during the first half of the 19th century.

Pempheris flavicycla marisrubri

Pempheris flavicycla marisrubri Randall, Bogorodsky & Alpermann 2014 is an endemic Red Sea subspecies of a sweeper (Family Pempheridae ) that is widely distributed in the  Indian Ocean . (Photo: Sergey V. Bogorodsky)


 Pseudanthias heemstrai Schuhmacher, Krupp & Randall 1989 is an endemic fish from the Red Sea, which at first was only known from the Gulf of Aqaba, and only later was confirmed for the Southern Red Sea as well. (Photo: Sven Tränkner)

Pseudanthias heemstrai Schuhmacher, Krupp & Randall 1989 is endemic to the Red Sea. Originally known from the Gulf of Aqaba only, it was later discovered in the southern Red Sea. (Photo: Friedhelm Krupp)


Garra smarti Krupp & Budd 2009 is one of several freshwater fishes of the Arabian Peninsula (type locality: Wadi Hasik, Oman) that have been described as new to science in the last years. (Photo: Friedhelm Krupp)

Garra smartae Krupp & Budd 2009 (type locality: Wadi Hasik, Oman) is one of several freshwater fish species of the Arabian Peninsula that have been described as new to science in recent years. (Photo: Sven Tränkner)