Biodiversity in Benin (BEN)
  FishBase Complete Literature Reference
Species Families Species Families
Marine 190 90 Yes Giaccardi, M., P. Yorio and M.E. Lizurume, 1997
Freshwater 1 1 Yes Vatova, A., 1975
Total 195 91 No
Ref.   Vatova, A., 1975
Conservation The following information is to be sought: - Status of knowledge of the freshwater fauna; - Existence of conservation plans; - Information on major aquatic habitats or sites within the country; - Current major threats to species; - Future potential threats to species; - Contact(s) for further information.
Geography and Climate Benin (with a surface area of 110,620 sq. km.) is divided into four natural regions: (a) a flat sandy coastal plain which is transected by brackishwater; (b) a granitic plateau which occupies most of the centre of the country and rises toward the Atacora mountains in the northwest; (c) the valley of the Pendjari River; and (d) the valley of the Niger River. The coastal region of the country is hot and humid with a moderately even temperature and throughout the year. There are two rainy seasons, a major rain from March to June, and a minor one peaking in October. In the north the country becomes more arid, with a cool period in December and January and a hot period between March and June. Rainfall is concentrated into one season between July and October. Benin is an agricultural country. The south concentrates on plantations of oil palm; to the north the main crops are maize and cotton. Cattle are abundant, particularly on the floodplains of the Niger in the north and the Ouèmè in the south. There is a considerable amount of drawdown agriculture on the floodplains in the south and rice cultivation has been introduced recently in the Ouèmè.

Ref.  Vanden Bossche, J.-P. and G.M. Bernacsek, 1990
Hydrography Lakes: Benin has over 330 sq. km. surface area of lakes and lagoons. There are several groups of lakes associated with the floodplains of the south-flowing rivers. On the Ouèmè there are Lakes Azilli and Cele and on the Mono there are about six lakes, but siltation and other changes due to management of this basin are altering their characteristics very rapidly. Rivers, floodplains and swamps: hydrologically the country can be divided into five main drainage areas: (a) to the north Benin borders on the Niger River for about 120 km and the three main mid-course tributaries of that river (the Alibori, Sota and Mekrou Rivers) arise on the central plateau of Benin to flow torrentially northward into the Niger. The Benin bank of the Niger has a broad floodplain covering about 275 sq. km. at peak floods; (b) the Pendjari River, a tributary of the Volta, drains the western slopes of the Atakora mountains and runs for some 400 km through Benin before entering togo. The south-flowing rivers: (c) the Mono (360 sq. km.); (d) the Couffo (240 km), and (e) the Ouèmè (700 km), arise on the central plateau and, below torrential upper courses, form broad fertile floodplains in the coastal zone. The floodplains terminate in a series of extensive lagoons. The greatest of the floodplains, that of the Ouèmè, extends over 2,000 sq. km. at peak floods. Reservoirs: given the seasonal drought, several dams had to be built for water storage. At present, however, there are no major reservoirs in the country, although there are several small cattle dams in the north. Coastal lagoons: by far the most important bodies of water in the country are the brackish water coastal lagoons which are contiguous with the whole lagoon system of the West African coast. There are two major lagoons: Nokoue and Porto Novo which together cover about 147 sq. km. and are separated only by the numerous channels of the deltaic fan of the Oueme River; and Aheme Lagoon, which covers 85 sq. km. Smaller lagoon systems covering about 28 sq. km. connect the major bodies of water with the sea, and run parallel to the coast behind the dune systems.

Ref.  Vanden Bossche, J.-P. and G.M. Bernacsek, 1990
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