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This article details the different types of aquatic species in the Rhine River. The introduction briefly discusses the environmental history of the river and some of the physical geography, as well asa discussion of the effects of pollution on wildlife. Additionally, the article includes a discussion of the types of insects wildlife use as a food source.

Aquatic Wildlife in the Rhine River

The Rhine River starts in the North Sea and stretches through the Netherlands, East Germany, France and ends in Switzerland. The extensive river provides a refuge for several types of wildlife and extends just over 815 miles. Recreationally, the river provides ample opportunities for fishing, swimming, sight-seeing and boating adventures. However, the effects of pollution on animals has been on ongoing issue in the last half century.

Pollution Effects on Animals

The Convention of the International Commission for the Protection of the Rhine (ICPR) was formed in 1963 as a response to the continually degradation and deteriorating water quality of the Rhine River. The diversity of wildlife and aquatic species was affected negatively by pollution from neighboring countries. In the early 1970s, mercury pollution rendered the river ecologically dead. Since then, efforts have recovered the viability of the river and wildlife began to populate the river once more.

Environmentalists continually push to protect the natural ecosystem of the Rhine River and water quality continues to improve. However, many harmful types of bacteria still exist and pose a hazard to swimmers.

Insects and Aquatic Food Sources

The Rhine provides a home for crickets, mollusks, mosquitoes, beetles and other insects. The species thrive along with crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. These species provide a food source for salmon and other freshwater fish. Without the several varieties of insects and mollusks available for other wildlife to feed on, the diverse population of the Rhine River couldn’t exist. Snails, slugs and various types of worms also populate the Rhine River and its embankments.

Indigenous (Native) Species

Indigenous species include the fish and animals native to the Rhine River. Various types of lampreys exist within the river, as well as sea sturgeons, shads and salmon. Shads, also known as river herring, have a deep body and generally feed on plankton located in the river.

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