Thursday, February 21, 2008

Three new species of fish found in Western Ghats

Three new species of fish were found in the high altitude streams in Western Ghats region of Karnataka.

The new fish species were discovered by the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in the streams of Sita river, flowing at altitude of 2,000 feet above mean sea level, near Agumbe in Karnataka’s Shimoga district.

The discovery was made while MPEDA was preparing a database of indigenous ornamental fish available in Western Ghats region of Karnataka. MPEDA’s Karnataka convenor P K Pramod said the newly discovered fish species have been identified as Danio, Schistura and Mesonemachelius.

Scientists of Chennai-based Zoological Survey of India K Rama Devi and T J Indra have confirmed the discovery of the new fish species.

Pramod told reporters that Danio species collected from a high altitude stream is characterized by two pairs of elongated barbells. The fish shows resemblance to Danio dangilla and brachydanio rerio in having long barbells. The similiarities end here. For, the species differs in fin formulae.

Schistura species, which has 11 to 13 bands, is characterized by beautiful black markings while Mesonemachelius is olive green in colour with black blotches on the body and flanks.

Pramod said the discovery proves that Western Ghats, with its pristine waters, harbours a rich variety of fresh water species. These attractive species have the potential to be introduced as ornamental fish varieties in domestic and international markets. “But, the resource abundance of the species should be studied and breeding technology perfected prior to popularization of the fish in ornamental trade”, Pramod added.

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