Three new fish species spotted in Western Ghats region

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Mangalore, Feb 20 (UNI) Three new fish species have been spotted in the Western Ghat region recently during the Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) efforts to prepare a database on the indigenous ornamental fishes available in the region.

According to Dr P K Pramod, State Coordinator of Ornamental Fish Development MPEDA, the three new fish species discovered from the streams of Augumbe and adjacent water bodies reaching Sita River in Shimoga district were identified as Danio sp.nov, Schistura sp.nov and Mesonemachelius sp.nov. These new species were confirmed by the scientists Dr Rama Devi and T J Indra of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Chennai.

Dr Pramod said that Danio sp. and Schitura were collected from a high altitude stream of more than 2000 ft MSL reaching Sita River.

Danio was characterized by two pairs of elongated barbell. The fish shows resemblance to 'Danio dangilla and 'brachydanio rerio' and the similarities ends here, he added.

He said that Schitura is yellowish brown in colour with 11-13 bands on the body. The band starts from the posterior part of the pectoralfin. The species differs in fin formulae and absence of beautiful network of colour pattern. Dorsal fin is provided with beautiful black markings. Fish resembles schidtura denisonil which is already reported.

He said that so for there was no concerted attempt to develop a scientific database on the indigenous ornamental fish resources in rivers of Karnataka. However, similar work had been carried out in Kerala and other parts of Western Ghats. The newly discovered varieties proved that Western Ghats with its pristine rivers, harbours a rich variety of fresh water species which still to be explored and described.

Dr. Pramod said that these attractive species have good potential to be introduced as ornamental fish resources in the domestic and international ornamental fish trade. However, prior to popularization of such new fishes in trade, proper study and breeding technology perfected of these resource abundance of the species, he added.

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