Diverse biogeographic regions have been proposed in Argentina using different approaches of biogeography and different criteria. However, none of these proposals has considered freshwater gastropods in estimating biodiversity values, although gastropods from continental waters have great ecological importance and are a useful group to characterize freshwater environments. For this reason, our aim is to define freshwater gastropod provinces and to compare them with the available information on biogeographic regions previously defined using other data sets. The gastropod database comprises approximately 4,000 georeferenced records from museum collections, bibliographic records, and collections of our research team. A similarity analysis among basins was carried out using the species as characters and applying Jaccard's coefficient and UPGMA clustering with the MVSP program to obtain the resulting phenogram. Eight provinces were identified: I, Misionerean; II, Middle Paraná; III, Uruguay River; IV, Lower Paraná — Río de la Plata; V, Central; VI, Cuyo; VII, Northern Patagonia; and VIII, Southern Patagonia. Between Provinces V and VI lies a Transitional Zone that shows a higher faunal similarity with the Del Plata basin than with the Patagonian basins. The provinces with the highest diversity were I and IV (H = 1.92 and 1.89 respectively), while Province III shows the highest richness (S = 51) and quantity of endemic and vulnerable species. These provinces are the most densely populated in the country and therefore include the areas with the highest environmental degradation level.
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Vol. 53 • No. 1