Mangalore 20th Feb:Three new fish species were discovered in high altitude streams (at 2,000 sq ft mean sea level) ending at Sita river near Agumbe in Shimoga district.
The new fish species were discovered during the Marine Products Export Development Authority’s (MPEDA) efforts to prepare a database on the indigenous ornamental fishes available in Western Ghats region of the State.
The identity of three species, Danio sp.nov, schistura sp.nov and mesonemachelius sp.nov, submitted by State co-ordinator of ornamental fish development MPEDA P K Pramod were confirmed by scientists K Rema Devi and T J Indra of Chennai-based Zoological Survey of India.
Danio sp collected from a high altitude stream is characterised by two pairs of elongated barbells. The fish shows resemblance to ‘Danio dangilla’ and ‘brachydanio rerio’ in having long barbells. The similarities end here.
The species differs in fin formulae and absence of beautiful network of colour pattern in form of regular bands on the body. Schistura sp, with 11 to 13 bands, is characterised by beautiful black markings. Fish resembles schistura denisonii, which is already reported.
Mesonemachelius sp, says P K Pramod, is olive green in colour with black blotches on the body and flanks. The scientist regretted the absence of a database on indigenous ornamental fish resources in the rivers of Karnataka. “But similar work has been carried out in Kerala and other parts of Western Ghats,” he informed and added that 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 ornamental fish trade. “But the resource abundance of the species should be studied and breeding technology perfected prior to popularisation of fishes in trade.