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Tales of weird creatures have been perpetuated over millenia by civilizations around the world. Many of these beasts are considered by the modern, industrialized public to dwell only in folklore, legends, and myths. We are safe, it seems, from the terrifying monsters that are held securely in the prison of our imaginations. But what if we were to have an encounter with these frightening, yet supposedly fictional, animals? Many people, even in our current world, claim to have had actual experiences with just such beings. For them, it seems that the line that separates the world of fantasy from that of reality has blurred.

Although some of these creatures may indeed be quite horrifying, many others simply provoke our curiosity or stir our long-held beliefs. Whatever our reaction to them, we must admit that there is still much to learn about our world. It still holds many wonders yet to be uncovered. Whether genuine or fake, there is one word for sure that can be aptly applied to them: mysterious.

This is a list of various “anomalous” life forms that have been reported throughout history. Most significantly, many of these creatures fall under the discipline of cryptozoology, which is the study of unverified animals, otherwise known as “cryptids”. The main focus of cryptozoology is the verification or refutation of reputed flesh-and-blood organisms. However, there are a variety of more mysterious beings that appear to be ethereal or spiritual in nature, although they may take the guise of an animal. Perhaps they appear and disappear suddenly, or find their way into places that would not normally be accessible to physical entities. These “phantom animals” may be even more varied than their cryptid counterparts. Perhaps some cryptids and phantom animals are one and the same. Either way, I encourage you to read the following list of cryptids and phantom animals with an open, but well-grounded, mind.

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Western Java
Description: Large, bat-like creature. Said to be the size of a 1-year-old child. Possesses a monkey-like head and large claws on its wings. Dark gray in color. Reputedly feeds on fish by catching them with the claws adorning its wings. Named after its trademark call, which supposedly sounds like “ahOOOooool”. One supposedly flew over Dr. Ernest Bartels’ head as he explored a waterfall on the slopes of the Salek Mountains.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: East Africa
Description: Small, furry humanoid animal that is bipedal. From 4 to 5 feet in height. Fur is woolly in texture and rusty or brown in color. Skin below the fur is reddish or yellowish in color. Sighted in forests and along the shoreline in the early 1900’s. Supposedly seen associating with a troupe of babboons without disturbing them. May be the same as a similarly described creature called the “Sehite” of the Ivory Coast.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Black Dog
Classification: Supernatural
Location: England/South Africa/United States
Description: Ghostly, black dog that is either malevolent or gentle. Sometimes said to have glowing red eyes. Usually described as black, but may also be yellow, white or gray. May disappear suddenly. On August 4, 1577, two churches experienced attacks from such entities, which was supposedly lethal to at least two worshippers. Another person was left with a burn injury after the encounter. Some testimonies may also associate them with UFOs.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid/Supernatural?
Location: Australia
Description: Semi-aquatic animal or being of variable appearance. May have a horse-like head. One account says that it has long, shining black hair, large ears, and no tail. Body is “large” in size. Sometimes described as aggressive, or even deadly. Reported for more than 200 years. Figures into Aboriginal folklore. Name today translates as “bogey”, but may have originally meant “spirit” or “devil”.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Cadboro Bay, Vancouver Island
Description: Long sea creature with serpentine body. From 15 to 45 feet in length. Possesses a head similar to that of a camel or horse. Also said to have a pair of flippers on its body and spikes on its fluke-like tail. Undulates its body in the vertical plane as it swims. A supposed carcass of a juvenile specimen was found in the stomach of a sperm whale. Photographs of this specimen were taken. Better known as “Caddy”.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Cameroon Flashlight Frog
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Cameroon, Africa
Description: Treefrog with a blue spot on its snout. Blue spot reportedly glows in the dark. Glow may be used to attract insect prey. Mystery beast investigator Jonathan Downes supposedly observed several specimens at an animal fair in Devon, England in 1997. Downes turned down the chance to purchase one, as he deemed their price of 25 pounds to be too high. After consulting with his colleagues, he later realized that they were not a known species.
Source: Mysteries Of Planet Earth (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid/Supernatural
Locations: Mexico/Puerto Rico/United States
Description: Small, humanoid creature best known for its reputed tendency to drain blood from livestock. Eyes generally large with variable coloration, such as red, black or orange-yellow. Body also varies in color, and may even change color over time. Sometimes said to be hairy. May also have spines along its back. Between 3 and 5 feet in height. Witnesses sometimes claim to have feelings of illness during their encounters. Creature thought to be associated with UFOs.
Source: Chupacabras and Other Mysteries (Scott Corrales)

Con Rit
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Oceans near Southeast Asia
Description: Long sea creature with armor-like segments. Beached specimen supposedly seen in Hongay, Along Bay, Vietnam in 1883. Specimen said to be headless and 60 feet in length. Regular armored segments, 3 feet in length each, observed on carcass. Each segment possessed a pair of filament-like appendages. Appendages may be flipper-like in life, thus providing propulsion. Dark brown on back and light yellow on belly. Carcass later towed out to sea and sunk.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Crawfordsville Monster
Classification: Cryptid?/Supernatural?
Location: Crawfordsville, Indiana, United States
Description: Flying creature with an oblong shape sighted in 1891. Appeared to be headless. Possessed a glowing red structure described as an “eye”. Seemed to propel itself with several pairs of fins. About 20 feet in length, and 8 feet in width. Wheezing sounds were reported to come from it. Some onlookers claimed to have felt its “hot breathe” when it swooped over them. Supposedly witnessed by hundreds of people.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Crowing Crested Cobra
Classification: Cryptid
Location: East and Central Africa
Description: Large snake. Said to grow up to 20 feet in length. Usually buff-brown or grayish-black in color. Face is scarlet in color. Males and females said to have red rooster-like comb and males also have facial wattles. Male is supposedly capable of crowing. Said to be highly venomous and capable of killing a human almost instantly. Same species or similar snakes go by various names such as ninki-nanki, muhlambela, hongo and kovoko.
Source: Extraordinary Animals Revisited (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Locations: Lough Mask, Ireland/Glenade Lough, Ireland
Description: Semi-aquatic, dog-like or otter-like animal thought to be dangerous. Has hairless, slimy skin according to at least 1 account. The same account describes its color as black. In 1722, it is said that one such creature attacked and killed a woman while she was washing clothes. Her gravestone is visible today, with the image of a dobhar-chu engraved on it. Name translates as “water hound”. Also known as “Doyarchu”, meaing “water dog”.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Dover Demon
Classification: Cryptid?/Supernatual?
Location: Dover, Massachusetts, United States
Description: Small, humanoid being with bare skin. Had a comparatively large, watermelon-shaped head in comparison to its body. Had two large eyes on its head that glowed either orange or green, depending on witness accounts. Appeared to lack a nose, ears and mouth. Arms, legs, and neck were slender. Between 3 and 4 feet in height. Peach in color. Small number of sightings seemingly occured only in 1977.
Source: The Unexplained (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Likoula swamp, Republic of the Congo
Description: Dinosaur or rhinoceros-like creature with a single horn on its head. Similar in size to an elephant, or even larger. Has a crocodile-like tail. Skin is hairless. Brown or gray in color. Said to leave footprints similar in size to those of an elephant, but may have 3 claw marks. Supposedly kills other animals, such as elephants and water buffaloes, with its horn. Name translates as “Killer of Elephants” or “Water Elephant”.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

European Man-horse
Classification: Supernatural
Locations: England/Ireland
Description: Horse-like entity said to have the face of a man. Once sighted in 1994 in Norfolk, England. Witness was driving home when they noticed a horse or deer-like animal in the nearby fields. It was soon noticed that it had a man-like face. Frightened, the witness fled. Another sighting occured in County Louth, Ireland in 1966. Witnesses were driving when a man-faced horse suddenly appeared on the road. After blocking their path for nearly 2 minutes, it vanished.
Source: Mysteries Of Planet Earth (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Fairy Insect
Classification: Cryptid
Locations: Tennessee, United States?
Description:Unusual flying insect resembling a fairy. Apparently capable of flying in an upright position. Two inches in height. White in color. Possesses almond-shaped, blue eyes. Also has long antenna that hang down like hair. Witness reported that the insect made a humming sound that resembled a song. Insect flew from tree to tree and from flower to flower but did not appear to eat anything. Insect stopped humming and flew away in a horizontal position when witness tried to get a closer look.
Source: Extraordinary Animals Revisted (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Flathead Lake Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Flathead Lake, Montana, United States
Description: Lake monster of varying size and appearance. Some reports describe a creature that is consistent with a white sturgeon as its identity, including a report of the presence of a tail fin. Many other reports are of a serpentine animal with smooth skin and multiple humps on its back. From 10 to 60 feet in length. At least 78 sightings exist of the creature, the first one being reported in 1889.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Gambian Sea Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Bungalowe Beach, Republic of the Gambia
Description: Crocodile-like or cetacean-like sea creature. Possessed long jaws containing 80 teeth. Body was adorned with 4 flippers. Creature’s neck was short. Animal was between 14 and 15 feet in length. Skin was smooth. The tail was long and pointed. Brown in color on the back and white on the belly. Found dead, yet not decomposed, on Bungalowe beach in 1983. Also known as “Gambo”.
Sources: The Unexplained (Karl P.N. Shuker) and The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Giant Phantom Wolf
Classification: Supernatural
Location: Skinwalker Ranch, Utah, United States
Description: Large, wolf-like apparition with strange qualities seen in 1994. Stated as being nearly 3 times the size of an average wolf. Initially observed to be tame, but soon turned violent by biting the head of a family-owned calf. Many shots were subsequently fired into the creature, but only 1 appeared to have any notable effect by blasting a chunk of flesh out of it. Wolf retreated and was followed, but its tracks disappeared suddenly. Similar creature sighted later at the ranch as well. Possessed silvery-gray fur and light blue eyes.
Source: Hunt for the Skinwalker (Colm A. Kelleher/George Knapp)

Giglioli’s Whale
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Off the coast of Chile
Description: Whale with 2 dorsal fins, which are triangular in shape. Distance between dorsal fins about 6 1/2 feet. About 60 feet in length. Appeared to lack the characteristic furrows seen in rorqual whales. Skin has the appearance of velvet. Back is greenish gray in color, while the belly is grayish white. Sighted by Enrico Hillyer Giglioli aboard the ship Magenta in 1867. Giglioli named the whale Amphiptera pacifica.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

High-finned Sperm Whale
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Near the Shetland Islands
Description: Mutant sperm whale or new sperm whale species. Possesses a very tall dorsal fin, in contrast to the absence of any dorsal fin in typical sperm whales. Head is more rounded than known sperm whales. From 45 to 60 feet in length. Only has teeth in the lower jaw. Two stranded individuals were supposedly observed by Sir Robert Sibbald in 1692, who described their large fins as looking like mizzen masts. He named the species Physeter tursio.
Source: From Flying Toads to Snakes With Wings (Karl P.N. Shuker)

J’ba Fofi
Classification: Cryptid
Location: The Congo, Africa
Description: Very large, tarantula-like spider. Leg length close to 3 feet. Brown in color as adult, but yellow with purple abdomen when immature. Lays white eggs the size of peanuts. Claimed by the Baka pygmy tribe as being capable of killing humans. Said to spin webs that are capable of ensnaring birds and small forest antelope. Also said to build lairs from leaves that resemble the huts that are built by the pygmies.
Source: Extraordinary Animals Revisited (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Jersey Devil
Classification: Cryptid/Supernatural
Location: New Jersey, United States
Description: Flying being having the characteristics of many other animals. Classically described as having bat wings, a horse-like head, cloven hoofs and a tail. Skin similar to an alligator’s. Sometimes reported as having 1 or 2 horns. 6 to 11 feet in length, and 3 to 6 feet in height. Also reportedly able to glow and breathe fire. Vocalizations similar to a combination of a squawk and whistle have been attributed to it. Supposedly sighted by over 100 people.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Sub-Saharan Africa
Description: Giant, bat-like or pterosaur-like flying animal. Has membranous wings that lack feathers. Unlike birds, it is said to possess teeth. May also have a dog-like muzzle. Wingspan ranges from 3 1/2 to 7 feet. Generally red in color, but may also be black with white markings. Local people believe that it is responsible for floods, and use magic spells to protect themselves from such floods. Its name translates as “Overwhelmer of Boats”.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Lake Champlain Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Lake Champlain, Vermont, United States
Description: Lake monster with a long neck. Famous witness Sandra Mansi stated that the animal had “eel”-like skin that looked “slimy”. She said that the head was grayish-brown, and that it seemed to be twisting its neck to observe its surroundings. Mansi took a now-famous photograph of the monster, which appears to show a creature with a small head set on a long, thin neck. Video footage of the supposed creature has been taken as recently as 2002. Better known as “Champ”.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Lake Manitoba Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Lake Manitoba, Manitoba, Canada
Description: Giant, snake-like creature with aquatic habits. Around 30 feet in length. Dark brown in color. Allegedly capable of roaring. An expedition in 1957 revealed a cave that contained the remains of small animals, as well as traces that may have been left by a serpentine animal. A supposed photograph of the creature was taken in 1962. Sighted many times in the 1950’s, though sightings died down after 1962. Also known as “Manipogo”.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Lake Worth Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Lake Worth, Texas, United States
Description: Hairy bipedal being similar to a cross between a man and a goat sighted mostly in 1969. Has fish-like scales in addition to its fur. 7 feet in height. Fur is white or whitish gray in color. May be semi-aquatic in nature. Associated with a foul odor. Reported by some to show aggression, and has been blamed for the death of sheep. A supposed photograph of the creature has been taken, and footprints were also reported.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Loch Morar Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Loch Morar, Scotland
Description: Lake monster with a long neck. Head described as snake-like. Creature’s back is said by some to resemble an “upturned boat”. May appear as multiple humps on the surface of the water. From 25 to 30 feet in length. Dirty brown or black in color. At least one report tells of the creature being sighted out of water. Creature has reputedly been photographed. Better known as “Morag”.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Loch Ness Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Loch Ness, Scotland
Description: Lake monster of variously reported appearances. Often stated by witnesses to have a long neck. Up to 30 feet in length. Sighted not only in the water but also on land. Reports of camel-like monsters at the Loch are known. Other descriptions may refer to the monster as being crocodile, salamander, or frog-like. Monster has been variously reported as being shaggy or having smooth skin. Gray, black, dark brown or sandy in color. Many supposed photographs have been taken of it. Better known as “Nessie”.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Loys’ American Ape
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Zulia, Venezuela
Description: Ape-like monkey or monkey-like ape. Slightly over 5 feet in height and said to walk upright. Claimed to not possess a tail. Two specimens were sighted by Dr. Francois de Loys while exploring the forests along the Tarra River. Creatures became violent and began throwing their feces at the explorer and his party. Female was shot and killed whereas the male fled. Body of the female was propped up and photographed. Scientific name of Ameranthropoides loysi has been proposed.
Source: Extraordinary Animals Revisited (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Margate Sea Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Margate, South Africa
Description: Giant, white-furred sea creature sighted in 1922 or 1924. Witnesses report that it battled a pair of whales for 3 hours off the coast of South Africa. Creature was later killed by the whales and washed up on the beach. The animal’s body was measured to be 47 feet long, with a tail 10 feet long. Lacked a distinct head; only a 5-foot-long trunk-like appendage was found on its anterior end. Carcass remained on the beach for 10 days before being washed back out to sea due to the tides. Better known as “Trunko”.
Source: From Flying Toads to Snakes With Wings (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Locations: Uruguay/Southern Brazil
Description: Giant, worm-like creature known for its burrowing habits. Spends much of its life underground. Skin is said to be scaly. A pair of tentacle-like appendages is said to adorn its head. Reportedly up to 75 feet in length. Black in color. Said to cause the collapse of hillsides and roads by tunneling beneath them. Also reported to divert the course of rivers due to these tunnels.
Source: The Unexplained (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Lake Tele, Republic of the Congo
Description: Large, quadropedal animal said to resemble a dinosaur. Reported to have a long neck and long tail. What may be either a large tooth or large horn is said to exist on its head. Between the size of a hippopotamus and an elephant. Has smooth skin that is brownish gray in color. Reportedly vegetarian by nature, but may also be aggressive. Creature is said to be associated with bodies of water. May also have toxic flesh, as there is a report around 1959 of such a creature being killed and eaten, with fatal results for the consumers.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Mongolian Death Worm
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Description: Worm-like animal resembling the intestines of cattle. Generally described as having no facial features. Up to 5 feet in length. Dark red in color. May possess a small pair of wing-like appendages; possibly to aid in digging. Natives fear it for its reputed ability to kill humans with a chemical that it can spray at a distance. May also kill with electricity. Creature also referred to as “allghoi khorkhoi”, which translates as “intestine worm”.
Source: The Beasts That Hide From Man (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Monongahela Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Central equatorial Pacific Ocean
Description: Long sea creature with both whale-like and snake-like characteristics. Sighted by sailors aboard the ship Monongahela in 1852. The sailors supposedly fought and killed the creature with harpoons. Body measured at 103 feet in length. Head possessed two blowholes like a whale and separated lower jawbones like a snake. Said to have blubber. Also had 4 paw-like appendages of hard flesh. Brownish-yellow in color.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Montoya’s Sky Manta
Classification: Cryptid?/Supernatural?/UFO?
Location: Colorado, United States
Description: Machine-like creature or creature-like machine observed by Bruce Montoya and a friend. Similar in appearance to a giant manta ray, but lacking the tail. Tips of the wings were upraised. Appeared to have leathery skin with ridges and dimples. Gray in color. About 100 feet across. Moved through the air at about 5 miles per hour. Seemed to become transparent as it moved over the treetops. Montoya reportedly attempted to shoot it, but his gun jammed.
Source: Hunt for the Skinwalker (Colm A. Kelleher/George Knapp)

Classification: Cryptid/Supernatural
Location: Point Pleasant, West Virginia, United States
Description: Large, humanoid being with wings. Lacks any discernable head, but rather has circular red eyes on its chest that glow. Around 7 feet in height. Gray in color. Reportedly able to fly at high speeds without flapping its wings. Known for making shrieking or squeaking sounds. Supposedly has hypnotic powers. Most famous set of sightings occurred in the 1960’s. At least 1 sighting in 1967 links this being with UFO activity. Sightings relatively rare in modern times.
Source: The Big Book Of The Unexplained (Doug Moench)

New Guinea Giant Spider
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea
Description: Very large spider the size of a puppy. Jet black in color. Legs are said to be thick and hairy. Sighted by Australian soldier in World War II while fighting Japanese forces on the Kokoda Trail. Soldier noticed enormous cobwebs spread on ground and trees around him before seeing the spider. Spider was finally noticed when seen only around 1 foot from his face. The man backed away from it slowly and carefully..
Source: The Extraordinary Animals Revisited (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Okanagan Lake Monster
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Okanagan Lake, British Columbia, Canada
Description: Long, serpentine lake monster. Head is reptilian or horse-like in appearance. Sometimes said to have flippers or a mane. Back may have serrations. May be 40 to 70 feet in length. Dark green, black or brown in color. White settlers first saw these reputed creatures in the 1860’s. Thousands of sightings have taken place. Supposed video footage of the animal was taken in 1968, with other videos being taken since. Better known as “Ogopogo”. Also known as “Naitaka”.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Assumbo Mountains, Cameroon
Description: Gigantic bat. Face described as flat and monkey-like. Mouth is full of teeth. Wingspan estimated at 12 feet. Completely black in color. Seen one evening in 1932 by zoologists Gerald Russell and Ivan T. Sanderson. Creature was observed by the two men as it skimmed across a nearby river. Appeared to have aggressive intentions, causing Sanderson to duck below it as it passed over him with its jaws open.
Source: The Unexplained (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Phantom Hyena-beast
Classification: Supernatural
Location: Skinwalker Ranch, Utah, United States
Description: Carnivore-like apparition with attributes of various known animals. Possessed a hyena-like body, with a dog-like head, and a fox-like tail. Moved in a fashion similar to a hyena. Large in size and very muscular; estimated at 200 pounds in weight. Reddish in color. Seen by owners of Skinwalker Ranch as it pursued their horses. After being chased itself, the apparition vanished into thin air. The horses were found to have bloody scratches after the encounter.
Source: Hunt for the Skinwalker (Colm A. Kelleher/George Knapp)

Rhinoceros Dolphin
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Western South Pacific
Description: Dolphin with 2 dorsal fins. Single dorsal fin present on the back, as in many known dolphins. Another dorsal fin is located just behind the head. Length of snout undiscerned. Body is about 10 feet in length. Upper part of the body is spotted black and white. A pod of such creatures was apparently witnessed by 2 French naturalists in 1819. They named the species either Delphinus rhinoceros or Cetodipterus rhinoceros, depending on whether it would have been a member of a new genus or not.
Source: The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and other Mystery Denizens of the Deep (Loren Coleman/Patrick Huyghe)

Classification: Cryptid/Supernatural
Locations: Northwestern United States/Western Canada
Description: Large, humanoid being covered with fur. Has relatively broad shoulders and prominent eyebrow ridges when compared with humans. Averages around 7 and 1/2 feet in height. Fur color is often brownish, but may also be beige, black or white. Sometimes seen in groups. Photographic, video and footprint evidence for the creature have been obtained. Native Americans have attributed supernatural powers to this being. Known in the United States as “Bigfoot”.
Source: Unexplained! (Jerome Clark)

Staffordshire Man-monkey
Classification: Supernatural
Location: Staffordshire, England
Description: Ape-like being with ghostly attributes. A man crossing a local bridge while driving his cart in 1879 supposedly observed the creature. It jumped onto his horse’s back as he rode by. The witness noticed that his whip passed through the creature when he tried to push it off of his horse. It eventually vanished, leaving the man terrified by his encounter. His fear was so great that he was bedridden for days. Witness stated it to be dark in color with white eyes.
Source: Mysteries Of Planet Earth (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Skunk Ape
Classification: Cryptid
Location: Florida, United States
Description: Large, humanoid being covered with fur. Bipedal in stance. Height variable; ranges from “short” to 7 or 10 feet in height. Fur is dark brown, red, or black in color. Though most often associated with the Everglades, sightings elsewhere have occured. Notable for its allegedly pungent odor, which has been likened to a mixture of cow manure, rotten eggs, and skunk. A photograph supposedly depicting the creature was taken in 1997.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid
Locations: Austria/Switzerland
Description: Lizard or snake-like animal that may or may not possess a cat-like head. From 2 to 4 feet in length. Number of limbs varies between reports; may have no limbs, 2 limbs, or 4 limbs. Grey or dirty white in color. Will reportedly jump towards humans that observe them. Specimens have reportedly been killed or found dead, but were either not preserved or later lost. Creature also refered to as “stollenwurm”, and “springwurm”.
Source: The Beasts That Hide From Man (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Japan
Description: Snake-like creature known for making chirping sounds. Has physical attributes similar to a pit viper, such as horn-like projections above its eyes and what appear to be heat-sensing pits on its face. One witness described its face as being “cute” and “round”. Eyes have been variously described as being either large or small. Has a clearly visible neck. Body is relatively flat when compared to pit vipers.
Source: The Beasts That Hide From Man (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Supernatural
Location: Cambridgeshire, England
Description: Furry, bipedal apparition said to resemble a “large-sized hare” that appeared in the local Abbey House. Also said to have “close-cropped ears”. Another description says that it has a beak and flipper-like forelimbs. Brown in color. Said to appear more solid than intangible. Sighted more often by the children of the house than the adults. Always seen moving quickly. Final sighting may have occured in 1947.
Source: Mysteries Of Planet Earth (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Description: Furry creature similar to an ape, but ultimately may not be. Usually quadropedal, but capable of an erect, bipedal stance as well. Height when upright is between 5 and 6 feet. Said to lack a tail, but possesses long, muscular arms and long toes. Much of its torso is covered with dark fur, but lighter fur is said to exist on its neck, arms, legs, and stomach. Said to be nocturnal by nature. Associated with the Yowie, but may be a different cryptid.
Source: The Beasts That Hide From Man (Karl P.N. Shuker)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: Himalayan Mountain Range
Description: Large, humanoid being covered with fur. Said to have long arms, a conical head, large teeth, and no tail. Fur is mainly reddish-brown to black in color, sometimes with white patches on the chest; contrary to the popular Western belief that it’s fur is all-white. Creature is at least 5 and 1/2 feet in height. Many alleged, and quite large, footprints have been found in the snow. Also known as the “Abominable Snowman”.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

Classification: Cryptid
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Description: Large, humanoid being covered with fur. One account in 1912 describes the creature as a man-like animal. It was said to have long canine teeth, deeply-set eyes and a small face. Covered with reddish brown hair. Creature may be between 6 and 7 feet in height. Also known to produce a noxious smell that can induce nausea. May produce animal-like sounds. Tales of footprints also exist.
Source: Cryptozoology A to Z (Loren Coleman/Jerome Clark)

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This is a list of the mammal species recorded in Pakistan. There are 173 mammal species in Pakistan, of which 0 are critically endangered, 9 are endangered, 14 are vulnerable, and 7 are near-threatened. The largest mammal in Pakistan is the Asiatic Brown Bear. Capra falconeri is the national animal of Pakistan.

Subclass: Theria

Infraclass: Eutheria

Order: Primates 

Rhesus Macaque is the territorial animal of Islamabad

The order Primates contains all the species commonly related to the lemurs, monkeys, and apes, with the latter category including humans. It is divided informally into three main groupings: prosimians, monkeys of the New World, and monkeys and apes of the Old World.

Order: Rodentia (rodents) 

 Indian Porcupine

 Woolly Flying Squirrel

 Acomys dimidiatus

 Indian Desert Jird

Rodents make up the largest order of mammals, with over 40 percent of mammalian species. They have two incisors in the upper and lower jaw which grow continually and must be keep short by gnawing. Most rodents are small though the capybara can weigh up to 45 kg (100 lb).

Order: Lagomorpha (lagomorphs)

The lagomorphs comprise two families, Leporidae (hares and rabbits), and Ochotonidae (pikas). Though they can resemble rodents, and were classified as a superfamily in that order until the early 20th century, they have since been considered a separate order. They differ from rodents in a number of physical characteristics, such as having four incisors in the upper jaw rather than two.

Order: Erinaceomorpha (hedgehogs and gymnures)

The order Erinaceomorpha contains a single family, Erinaceidae, which comprise the hedgehogs and gymnures. The hedgehogs are easily recognised by their spines while gymnures look more like large rats.

Order: Soricomorpha (shrews, moles, and soledons)

Asian House Shrew

The “shrew-forms” are insectivorous mmmals. The shrews and soledons closely resemble mice while the moles are stout bodied burrowers.

Order: Chiroptera (bats) 

Egyptian fruit bat

Serotine bat

Lesser Noctule

Megaderma lyra

The bats’ most distinguishing feature is that their forelimbs are developed as wings, making them the only mammals in the world naturally capable of flight. Bat species account for about 20% of all mammals.

Order: Pholidota (pangolins)

The order Philodota comprises the eight species of pangolin. Pangolins are anteaters and have the powerful claws, elongated snout and long tongue seen in the other unrelated anteater species.

Order: Cetacea (whales) 

Fin Whale

Melon-headed Whale

The order Cetacea includes whales, dolphins and porpoises. They are the mammals most fully adapted to aquatic life with a spindle-shaped nearly hairless body, protected by a thick layer of blubber, and forelimbs and tail modified to provide propulsion underwater.

Order: Carnivora (carnivorans) 


Sand Cat

Snow leopard, state animal of Pakistan

Indian Wolf, a rare mammal of Pakistan

Asiatic Black Bear


European Otter

There are over 260 species of carnivorans, the majority of which eat meat as their primary dietary item. They have a characteristic skull shape and dentition.

Order: Artiodactyla (even-toed ungulates)


national animal of Pakistan


The even-toed ungulates are ungulates whose weight is borne about equally by the third and fourth toes, rather than mostly or entirely by the third as in perissodactyls. There are about 220 artiodactyl species, including many that are of great economic importance to humans.

Threatened and Least Concern categories:

LR/cd Lower Risk/conservation dependent Species which were the focus of conservation programmes and may have moved into a higher risk category if that programme was discontinued.
LR/nt Lower Risk/near threatened Species which are close to being classified as Vulnerable but are not the subject of conservation programmes.
LR/lc Lower Risk/least concern Species for which there are no identifiable risks.

conservation status as assessed by the IUCN:

EX Extinct No reasonable doubt that the last individual has died.
EW Extinct in the wild Known only to survive in captivity or as a naturalized populations well outside its previous range.
CR Critically Endangered The species is in imminent risk of extinction in the wild.
EN Endangered The species is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild.
VU Vulnerable The species is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild.
NT Near Threatened The species does not meet any of the criteria that would categorise it as risking extinction but it is likely to do so in the future.
LC Least Concern There are no current identifiable risks to the species.
DD Data Deficient There is inadequate information to make an assessment of the risks to this species.


ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageVenomous Terrestrial Snakes of Pakistan

Special Note:
The information on this page was taken from the field guide, A Guide to The Snakes of Pakistan, Edition Chimaira Frankfurt am Main 2002, by Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan. I am extremely grateful to both the author Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan and the publisher Andreas S. Brahm for allowing me to use the information from this book, under special permission. As such, all information on this page is the copyright property of Dr.  Muhammad Sharif Khan and Andreas S. Brahm and should not be used without the written permission of the copyright holders.  

Family: ELAPIDAE (Kraits & Cobras)


Family of deadliest venomous snakes containing cobras, kraits, mambas and coral. They are morphologically colubrids, except that they possess a pair of short immovable, hollow fangs, longer than rest of the teeth, connected with poison through a duct opening at the tip of the fang. Moreover, characteristically, the loreal scale is absent from head scales. Elapids are represented in Pakistan by two genera of 4-5 species.

Genus Bangarus

Bungarine snakes, the “kraits”, are medium-sized, thin snakes, with small dark eyes which are hardly visible in life. Smooth scales, black to dark brown dorsum with a steelish luster, paired narrow white bands extend across dorsum at regular intervals.

Kraits are shy, in danger prefer to lie low, when provoked body rolls into a ball, and hisses. The head is kept under coils, while the tail is kept high and is waved to and fro, to distract attention of enemy. The “balling” snake suddenly strikes when molested (khan and tasnim, 1986b).

Genus Bungarus is represented in Pakistan by three species:

Genus Naja

Snakes of this genus can expand ribs of anterior half of their body so to stretch the skin of this region into a “hood”, and are capable of raising it vertically up above These snakes are usually known as “nags”, are long, thick, heavy bodied, often exceeding 1500 mm in total length. They are deadly poisonous and most-feared of the subcontinent. 

Genus Naja is represented in Pakistan by two species:

Family: VIPERIDAE (Pitless vipers)

This family is represented in Pakistan by five genera and seven species and subspecies.

Family: CROTALIDAE (Pit vipers)

Snout pointed, a deep loreal pit between eye and nostril; head-top relatively flat with large shields, usually small azygos scales split off from the main head scales; nostril centered between two nasal scales; postocular and subocular are fused to form a large scale; which does not line the mouth.

Pit vipers are represented by a single species in Pakistan, belonging to the genus Gloydius:



  • A Guide to The Snakes of Pakistan, Muhammad Sharif Khan, Edition Chimaira Frankfurt am Main 2002 (

  • Venomous Snakes of the Middle East (Identification Guide), Defence Intelligence Document, U.S Defence Intelligence Agency 

  • Dr. Muhammad Sharif Khan, Herpetological Lab Rabwah, Pakistan

  • Pakistan Museum of Natural History

  • Nausherwan Ahmed


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Included in the IUCN Red List is the comprehensive assessment of the conservation status of the world’s 5,488 mammal species. Here you will find global summary statistics for the assessment, as well as individual species accounts including IUCN Red List threat category, range map, ecology information, and other data for every mammal species.




Figure 2. The proportion of extant (i.e., excluding Extinct) species in The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2 assessed in each category for the more comprehensively assessed groups. Taxa are ordered according to the horizontal red lines, which show the best estimate for proportion of extant species considered threatened (CR, EN, or VU). Best estimates of percentage threatened species (with lower and upper estimates) for each group are: cycads 63% (63-64%); amphibians 41% (30-56%); reef-forming corals 33% (27-44%); sharks & rays 31% (17-63%); freshwater crabs 31% (16-65%); conifers 30% (29-33%); mammals 25% (21-36%); groupers 18% (12-43%); birds 13% (12.5-13%); wrasses 5% (4-19%); lobsters <1% (0-35%). The numbers above each bar represent the total number of extant species assessed for each group. CR – Critically Endangered, EN – Endangered, VU – Vulnerable, NT – Near Threatened, DD – Data Deficient,

Figure 1. Increase in the number of species assessed for The IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM (2000–2011.2).

The numbers of species appearing in each category of threat in The IUCN Red List change each time the Red List is updated. In order to monitor the status of biodiversity, it is important to reassess species periodically. This reassessment may result in species moving into a different Red List Category for non-genuine or genuine reasons:

Non-genuine reasons

  • New information has become available since the last assessment (e.g., more recent data are available on population sizes, threatening processes, rates of decline or recovery, etc.).
  • There has been a taxonomic revision resulting in the species no longer being the same concept as it was before (e.g., it is now split into several species each with smaller ranges, population sizes, etc.; or it has been merged with other species so the range, population size, etc. are now larger than they were previously).
  • An error has been discovered in the previous assessment (e.g., the wrong information was used; the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria were applied incorrectly; etc.).
  • The previous assessment used an older version of the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria and the reassessment uses the current criteria which have slightly different thresholds.

Genuine reasons

  • The main threats are no longer present, or conservation measures (e.g., reintroduction, habitat protection or restoration, legal protection, harvest management, etc.) have successfully improved the status of the species enough to downlist it to a lower category of threat.
  • The main threats have continued unabated, have increased, or new threats have developed causing the status of the species to deteriorate enough to uplist it to a higher category of threat.

IUCN relies on valuable research from around the world to provide new and better information for species. Each category change on the Red List has the reasons for the change recorded, which allows us to quickly identify species that are genuinely improving or deteriorating in status. Each time the Red List is updated, a list of species that have changed category is provided along with the reasons for these changes.


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An ecoregion (ecological region), sometimes called a bioregion, is an ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than an ecozone and larger than an ecosystem. Ecoregions cover relatively large areas of land or water, and contain characteristic, geographically distinct assemblages of natural communities and species. The biodiversity offlorafauna and ecosystems that characterise an ecoregion tends to be distinct from that of other ecoregions. In theory, biodiversity or conservation ecoregions are relatively large areas of land or water where the probability of encounter of different species and communities at any given point remain relatively constant, within an acceptable range of variation (largely undefined at this point). Three caveats are appropriate for all biogeographic mapping approaches. Firstly, no single biogeographic framework is optimal for all taxa. Ecoregions reflect the best compromise for as many taxa as possible. Secondly, ecoregion boundaries rarely form abrupt edges; rather, ecotones and mosaic habitats bound them. Thirdly, most ecoregions contain habitats that differ from their assigned biome.

Terrestrial ecoregions are land ecoregions, as distinct from freshwater and marine ecoregions. In this context, terrestrial is used to mean “of land” (soil and rock), rather than the more general sense “of Earth” (which includes land and oceans).

WWF (World Wildlife Fund) ecologists currently divide the land surface of the Earth into 8 major ecozones containing 867 smaller terrestrial ecoregions (see list). The WWF effort is a synthesis of many previous efforts to define and classify ecoregions. Many consider this classification to be quite decisive, and some propose these as stable borders for bioregional democracy initiatives.

The eight terrestrial ecozones follow the major floral and faunal boundaries, identified by botanists and zoologists, that separate the world’s major plant and animal communities. Ecozone boundaries generally follow continental boundaries, or major barriers to plant and animal distribution, like the Himalayas and the Sahara. The boundaries of ecoregions are often not as decisive or well recognized, and are subject to greater disagreement.

Eco-regions are classified by biome type, which are the major global plant communities determined by rainfall and climate. Forests, grasslands (including savanna and shrubland), and deserts (including xeric shrublands) are distinguished by climate (tropical and subtropicalvs. temperate and boreal climates) and, for forests, by whether the trees are predominantly conifers (gymnosperms), or whether they are predominantly broadleaf (Angiosperms) and mixed (broadleaf and conifer). Biome types like Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub;tundra; and mangroves host very distinct ecological communities, and are recognized as distinct biome types as well.

Marine ecoregions are: “Areas of relatively homogeneous species composition, clearly distinct from adjacent systems….In ecological terms, these are strongly cohesive units, sufficiently large to encompass ecological or life history processes for most sedentary species.” They have been defined by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to aid in conservation activities for marine ecosystems. Forty-three priority marine ecoregions were delineated as part of WWF’s Global 200 efforts. The scheme used to designate and classify marine ecoregions is analogous to that used for terrestrial ecoregions. Major habitat types are identified: polar, temperate shelves and seas, temperate upwelling, tropical upwelling, tropical coral, pelagic (trades and westerlies), abyssal, and hadal (ocean trench). These correspond to the terrestrial biomes.

The Global 200 classification of marine ecoregions is not developed to the same level of detail and comprehensiveness as that of the terrestrial ecoregions; only the priority conservation areas are listed.

In 2007, TNC and WWF refined and expanded this scheme to provide a system of comprehensive near shore (to 200 meters depth) Marine Eco-regions of the World (MEOW). The 232 individual marine Eco-regions are grouped into 62 marine provinces, which in turn group into 12 marine realms, which represent the broad latitudinal divisions of polar, temperate, and tropical seas, with subdivisions based on ocean basins (except for the southern hemisphere temperate oceans, which are based on continents).

Major biogeographic realms, analogous to the eight terrestrial ecozones, represent large regions of the ocean basins: Arctic, Temperate Northern Atlantic, Temperate Northern Pacific, Tropical Atlantic, Western Indo-Pacific, Central Indo-Pacific, Eastern Indo-Pacific, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Temperate South America, Temperate Southern Africa, Temperate Australasia, Southern Ocean.

A similar system of identifying areas of the oceans for conservation purposes is the system of large marine ecosystems (LMEs), developed by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

A freshwater ecoregion is a large area encompassing one or more freshwater systems that contains a distinct assemblage of natural freshwater communities and species. The freshwater species, dynamics, and environmental conditions within a given ecoregion are more similar to each other than to those of surrounding ecoregions and together form a conservation unit. Freshwater systems include riversstreamslakes, and wetlands. Freshwater ecoregions are distinct from terrestrial ecoregions, which identify biotic communities of the land, and marine ecoregions, which are biotic communities of the oceans.

A new map of Freshwater Ecoregions of the World, released in 2008, has 426 ecoregions covering virtually the entire non-marine surface of the earth.

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) identifies twelve major habitat types of freshwater ecoregions: Large lakes, large river deltas, polar freshwaters, montane freshwaters, temperate coastal rivers, temperate floodplain rivers and wetlands, temperate upland rivers, tropical and subtropical coastal rivers, tropical and subtropical floodplain rivers and wetlands, tropical and subtropical upland rivers, xeric freshwaters and endorheic basins, and oceanic islands. The freshwater major habitat types reflect groupings of ecoregions with similar biological, chemical, and physical characteristics and are roughly equivalent to biomes for terrestrial systems.

The Global 200, a set of ecoregions identified by WWF whose conservation would achieve the goal of saving a broad diversity of the Earth’s ecosystems, includes a number of areas highlighted for their freshwater biodiversity values. The Global 200 preceded Freshwater Ecoregions of the World and incorporated information from regional freshwater ecoregional assessments that had been completed at that time.


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Pakistan has 225 Protected Areas (PAs) 14 national parks, 99 wildlife sanctuaries, and 96 game reserves. It is a world of rapidly shrinking wetlands, some of them of international significance, of wondrous juniper forests, minute life forms which buzz their way to a magical existence, of stunning mountains, and much more.

Pakistan covers a number of the world’s ecoregions, ranging from the mangrove forests stretching from the Arabian Sea to the towering mountains of the western Himalayas, Hindukush and Karakoram.

  Biography:The country lies at the western end of the South Asian subcontinent, and its flora and fauna are composed of a blend of Palearctic and Indomalayan elements, with some groups also containing forms from the Ethiopian region.

 Ecological zonesPakistan is divided into 9 major ecological zones.
WWF – Pakistan is working to conserve the environment through its Target Driven Programmes (TDPs) that address issues pertaining to samples of forest, freshwater, marine ecosystems, species, toxics and climate change. The emphasis is on conserving representative sites of ecologically important areas within these Target Driven Programmes. Conservation of desert ecosystems is included under forests.
In most of its projects, WWF-P supports local community initiatives to conserve natural resources, and helps look for ways to improve community livelihoods. Almost all conservation projects have the following common features and priorities: partnership with local bodies and capacity building at all levels from local communities to government bodies

Critical EcosystemsUnder the Global 200, ecosystems have been ranked to carry out conservation through comparative analysis. It covers all habitats on the land masses and in the ocean. The Earth has been divided into 238 ecoregions, by the United Nation, the National Geographic Society with WWF. Out of them 5 are in Pakistan. The Global ecoregions of Pakistan are:

  1. Rann of Kutch flooded grasslands
  2. Tibetan Plateau
  3. Western Himalayan Temperate Forests
  4. Indus Delta Ecosystem
    5. Arabian Sea.

About 5,500 – 6,000 ( Nasir and Ali 1970) species of vascular plants have been recorded in Pakistan including both native and introduced species. The flora included elements of the 6 phytogeographic regions. 4 monotypic genera of flowering plants and around 400 (7.8%) species are endemic to Pakistan.

Almost 80% of the endemics are found in the northern and western mountains (Ali and Qaiser,1986). The Kashmir Himalayas are identified as a global centre of plant diversity and endemism. Families with more than 20 recorded endemics are Papilionaceae(57 species), Compositae (49), Umbelliferae (34), Poaceae (32) and Brassicaceae (20).

MammalsAround 174 mammal species have been reported in Pakistan. Out of these, there are atleast 3 endemic species and a number of endemic and near endemic sub-species (Biodiversity Action Plan for Pakistan, WWF – P, IUCN – P and GoP).

List of Mammal species

Birds668 bird species have been recorded in Pakistan. Out of them, 375 were recorded as breeding ( Roberts, Z.B.Mirza). Breeding birds are a mixture of Palearctic and Indomalayan forms ( 1/3rd) and the occurrence of many species at one or the other geographical limits of their range shows the diverse origins of the avifauna.

The Sulaiman Range, the HinduKush, and the Himalayas in the NWFP and Azad Kashmir comprise part of the Western Himalayan Endemic Bird Area; this is the global centre of bird endemism. The Indus Valley wetlands are the second area of endemism.

  Reptiles/ AmphibiansAround 177 species, being a blend of Palearctic and Indomalayan forms. Out of the total 14 species of turtles, 90 of lizards and 65 of snakes have been reported. While 13 species are believed to be endemic.
Being a semi arid country, only 22 species of amphibians have been recorded, of which 9 are endemic. (Biodiversity Action Plan for Pakistan, WWF – P, IUCN – P and GoP).

Fish/ InvertebratesPakistan has 198 native and introduced freshwater fish species. The fish fauna is predominately south Asian and with some west Asian and high asian elements. Fish species diversity is highest in the Indus river plains and in adjacent hill ranges (Kirthar Range), and in the Himalayan foothills in Hazara, Malakand, Swat and Peshawar. Diversity is lowest in the mountain zone of the northern mountains and arid parts of north-west Baluchistan.There are 29 endemic species.
There has been little research on Invertebrates of Pakistan. About 5,000 species of invertebrates have been recorded including insects (1,000 species of true bugs, 400 species of butterflies and moths, 110 species of flies and 49 species of termites). Other include 109 species of marine worms, over 800 species of molluscs and 355 species of nematodes. (Biodiversity Action Plan for Pakistan, WWF – P, IUCN – P and GoP).

Threats to Biodiversity:Deforestation:
Pricinciple cause of deforestation in Pakistan is the consumption of fuelwood and timber.

Rapidly increasing domestic livestock population is the direct cause of degradation on rangelands and forests.

Soil Erosion & Desertification:
Agricultural activities and overstocking has lead to the reduction of vegetation cover, resulting in the acceleration of both wind and water erosion.

The construction of dams and barrages in the Indus basin to control flooding and store water for irrigation have greatly increased the amount of Wetlands habitat in Pakistan.
Reduction in freshwater flow to the coast has greatly increased salinity in mangrove forests. The most serious effect has been the consequent conversion of land to agriculture, with removal of extensive tracts of riverine and thorn forests and the resulting disappearence from large areas of the associated fauna.

Being a serious problem faced by the agriculture sector, pockets of forests of the Indus basin could be threatened.

Pakistan faces a serious challenge of growing pollution in urban areas and water courses. Likewise discharge of sewage and industrial effluent into aquatic and marine ecosystems is also on the rise.In Pakistan’s 1981 census, 415 cities were classed as urban in which less than one third of the population resides, which is increasing by 4.4% per annum.

There is a strong tradition of illegal hunting and sports hunting in Pakistan. This has resulted into the decline of bird and mammal species.

Agricultural practices:
Pakistan faces degradation of agro-ecosystems caused by irrigation. The agricultural use of pesticides and fertilisers has rapidly increased in recent years. Pesticide use in Pakistan has increased 7 fold in quantity between 1981 and 1992.


Rohi or Rohu (Labeo rohita, Bihar – is a fish of the carp family Cyprinidae, found commonly in rivers and freshwater lakes in and around South Asia and South-East Asia. It is a herbivore. It is treated as a delicacy in BangladeshNepal and the Indian states of BiharOrissaAssamWest Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. The Maithil Brahmins and the Kayastha community of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh treat it as one of their most sacred foods: to be eaten on all auspicious occasions.

It is called rahu in Nepali.In Hindi it is called rehu (rawas is the Indian Salmon, which is quite different). It is called rohi in Oriyarui in Bengalirou in Assamese and Sylheti, rohu itself inMalayalam and is reared in Kerala. It is popular in ThailandBangladesh, northernIndia and Pakistan. It is a non-oily/white fish.


Fried Rohu dish, Bangladesh.

The roe of rohu is also considered as a delicacy by BhojpurMaithiliOriyas and Bengalis. It is deep fried and served hot as an appetizer as part of an Bihari, Oriya and Bengali meal. It is also stuffed inside pointed gourd to make potoler dolma which is considered a delicacy. Rohu is also served deep fried in mustard oil, as kalia which is a rich gravy made of concoction of spices and deeply browned onions and tok, where the fish is cooked in a tangy sauce made of tamarind and mustard. Rohu is also very popular in Northern India and Pakistan such as in the province of Punjab. In Lahore it is a specialty of Lahori cuisine in Lahori fried fish where it is prepared with batter and spices. It is also a very popularfood fish in Iraq.


Mahseer is the common name used for the genera TorNeolissochilus, and Naziritor in the family Cyprinidae (carps). The name Mahseer is however more often restricted to members of the genus Tor. The range of this fish is from MalaysiaIndonesia, across southern Asia to Pakistan, including the Indian Peninsula. They are commercially important game fish, as well as highly esteemed food fish. Mahseer fetch high market price, and are potential candidate species for aquaculture. Several of the larger species have suffered severe declines, and are now considered threatened due to pollutionhabitat loss and overfishing.

The taxonomy of the mahseers is confusing due to the morphological variations they exhibit. In developing strategies for aquaculture and propagation assisted rehabilitation of mahseer species, there is a need to resolve taxonomic ambiguities.

Mahseers inhabit both rivers and lakes, ascending to rapid streams with rocky bottoms for breeding. Like other types of carps, they are omnivorous, eating not only algaecrustaceans, insectsfrogs, and other fish, but also fruits that fall from trees overhead.

The first species from this group were scientifically described by Francis Buchanan-Hamilton in 1822, and first mentioned as an angling challenge by the Oriental Sporting Magazine in 1833, soon becoming a favorite quarry of British anglers living in India. The golden mahseer has been known to reach 2.75 m (9 ft) in length and 54 kg (118 lb) in weight, although specimens of this size are rarely seen nowadays. In addition to being caught for sport, mahseer are also part of commercial fishing and ornamental or aquarium fish.


Catla catla, (Synonymous with Cyprinus catlaGibelion catla), also known as Indian Carp, is the only member of the genus Catla, of the carp family Cyprinidae. It is a fish with a large protruding lower jaw. It is commonly found in rivers and freshwater lakes in IndiaNepalMyanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In India it is commonly known as the Bhakur.



The dwarf gouramiTrichogaster lalius (formerly known as Colisa lalia), has an almost translucent blue color, with vertical red to dark orange stripes. In its native range it is dried for food and it is also kept as an aquarium fish. It has become highly popular for aquaria.

Dwarf gouramis from Singapore may carry dwarf gourami iridovirus. Recent research has shown that 22% of Singapore Trichogaster lalius carry this virus.


The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a species of salmonid native to tributaries of the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. The steelhead is a sea-run rainbow trout (anadromous) usually returning to freshwater to spawn after two to three years at sea; rainbow trout and steelhead trout are the same species. The fish are often called salmon trout. Several other fish in the salmonid family are called trout, some are anadromous like salmon, whereas others are resident in freshwater only.

The species has been introduced for food or sport to at least 45 countries, and every continent except Antarctica. In some locations, such as Southern EuropeAustralia and South America, they have negatively impacted upland native fish species, either by eating them, outcompeting them, transmitting contagious diseases, (such as whirling disease transmitted by Tubifex) or hybridization with closely related species and subspecies that are native to western North America.





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