Biodiversity Malawi (MWI)
  FishBase Complete Literature Reference
Species Families Species Families
Marine No
Freshwater 476 22 No Daget, J., J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde, 1984
Total 481 23 No
Ref.   Daget, J., J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde, 1984
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 Malawi is a landlocked country which has an area of 94,080 km2, about 20% of which is occupied by Lake Malawi, in the Great Rift Valley. The Great Rift continues from the south end of the lake past the southern borders of the country. East and west of the valley the land rises to form high plateaus, generally between 1,000 and 1,300 m, although the Nyika uplands rise as high as 2,800 m. In the Rift Valley the climate is hot and humid, especially during the November-April wet season. Elsewhere the climate varies with altitude and can be seasonally very cool.

Ref.  Vanden Bossche, J.-P. and G.M. Bernacsek, 1990
Hydrography Lakes: there are four main lakes in Malawi: (a) Lake Malawi itself covers an area of 30,800 km2, over half of which is effectively controlled by Malawi. Lake Malawi is a deep Rift Valley lake with a maximum depth of 758 m, the richer shallow southern areas of the lake both lie within Malawi; (b) Lake Malombe is a 380 km2 lake to the south of Lake Malawi. It is a shallow lateral expansion of the Shire River, whose regime has been stabilized by a flood-control dam downstream; (c) Lake Chilwa is an endorheic lake showing extreme variations in level. It dries out almost completely in some years, but may extend over 2,590 km2 at highest water when it is surrounded by 1,000 km2 of marshland. Its mean area is about 750 km2; (d) Lake Chiuta is a smaller lake of the same type as Lake Chilwa and covers about 200 km2 when full. Rivers, floodplains and swamps: the Shire River (520 km) flows from Lake Malawi into the Zambezi. Most of its length is in Malawi, where it floods over large areas to form the Elephant and Ndinde marshes. The total system covers about 1,030 km2 at peak floods, but reduces in area to 480 km2 at low water. Reservoirs: no important reservoirs as yet, but several are planned for the Shire River. There is one small reservoir on the Zomba Plateau. FAO/UNDP (1981) (Ref. 12097), an appraisal of irrigation, also described numerous reservoirs in the Central Regions, constructed in the 1960's for irrigation. Their present use is mainly for stock watering but, due to poor maintenance, most are in disrepair. These structures represent valuable assets which could be revived. Coastal lagoons: none; Malawi is landlocked.

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