The information provided for each species includes: family, scientific name, common name, environment, total production as reported by FAO (1996), geographical distribution and production by continent. The species are listed, inside each group, by the phylogenetic order of the families (Eschmeyer,1990, for fish classification; Bowman and Abele, 1982, for crustacean classification; Turgeon et al., 1988, for mollusc classification) and in alphabetical order inside each family.
In some cases, the scientific names listed with production data in FAO (1996) have been amended to conform to recent taxonomic revisions. Difficulties in species classification and lack of specificity in the data supplied by Members Countries are limitations in the quality of aquaculture statistics and need improvement (FAO, 1995b). Scientific names, common names, data production and geographical distribution needing explanations are marked with an asterisk (*). Additional information is given for each * entry in the Notes paragraphs following the list of each major group.
In the Common name column, the FAO English name (FAO 1994a, 1995c, 1996) for each species is listed; if it does not exist, other sources (CEC, 1993; Robins et al., 1991a,b; Turgeon et al., 1988; Williams et al., 1988) have been utilized. In a few cases, if an English name is missing or is rarely used because the species is mainly cultivated in non-English speaking countries, the common name in the local language has been listed (e.g., cachama blanca, Spanish and commonly used name for Piaractus brachypomus).
Environmental information is restricted to the salinity level of the water, divided into three categories: FreshWater, Brackish Water and Salt Water. Either the complete life cycle or successful adaptation trials have been taken in account to categorize the species. For example, anadromous and catadromous species belong to all the three categories and species such as Dicentrarchus labrax (European seabass), a eurhyhaline marine species which also lives in brackish water but which, as demonstrated in experimental aquaculture trials (Cataudella et al., 1991), can be reared also in freshwater, is also classified as a freshwater species.
For the geographical distribution by continent, the division by major fishing areas used in the FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics (1995c) for inland waters has been followed (Figure 1). North America is extended down to Panama and includes also the Caribbean countries. Marine species have been considered to be distributed in the continents which coasts lie along the oceans where the species are found (e.g., a species found in the entire Mediterranean and Black Sea is considered as present in Africa, Asia, Europe and Former USSR).
In light of the fact that the use of introduced species has significantly contributed to aquaculture production, as they have in terrestrial-based agriculture, and because aquaculture was the primary motivation for the introduction of exotic species into inland waters (Welcomme, 1988), the list designates species as native (N) or introduced (I), in regards to the continent where they are cultured. Note that when a species is listed as native (N) to a continent it should not be interpreted as being native to the entire continent. Information about introductions have been mainly taken from Welcomme (1988) and Courtenay et al. (1991) for fishes, Lee and Wickins (1992) for crustaceans, and from several sources for molluscs (Carlton, 1992; Moyle, 1991; Utting and Spencer, 1992).