Résumé: Aim The aim was to analyse the morphological diversity of the world freshwater fish fauna. We tested to which extent the distributions of morphological traits are supported by extreme morphologies and how those extreme morphologies are distributed among realms and affect the functional vulnerability. We also analysed the contribution of between- and within-order morphological variability to the morphological differences between realms. Major taxa studied Freshwater fish. Location Global. Time period 1960s-2010s. Methods We used a global database of freshwater fishes from the six realms. Ten morphological traits were measured on 9,150 species, that is, 75% of the ca. 13,000 freshwater fish species. A principal components analysis was conducted to combine the 10 traits into a multidimensional space. We used Kolmogorov-Smirnov tests to compare the difference in morphological diversity between the six realms and between and within the major fish orders. We then identified the morphologically extreme species and quantified their contributions to the morphological range to assess the functional vulnerability and redundancy of fish faunas in the six biogeographical realms for freshwater ecosystems. Results We report a strong morphological variability among freshwater fishes of the world, with significant morphological differences among realm fish faunas, caused by an interplay between taxonomic composition of the realm faunas and morphological differences within orders among the realms. Morphologically extreme species accounted for a large percentage of the filling of the global morphological space and are distributed throughout the world. Main conclusions Fish morphological diversity is largely supported by a few species with extreme trait combinations, indicating that functional vulnerability exists throughout the world. Our results suggest that more attention should be paid to these morphologically extreme species and that they should be protected to ensure the sustainability of functions they support.