Saturday, June 16, 2012

New Species of Fish Found

A collaborative taxonomic study by Indian and British ichthyologists has discovered a new freshwater fish, ‘ Pristolepis rubripinnis ', from Pampa and Chalakudy rivers.
The findings of the research led by Ralf Britz of the Natural History Museum, London; K. Krishnakumar of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Alappuzha; and Fibin Baby of Conservation Research Group (CRG), St. Albert's College, Kochi, was published in the latest issue of Zootaxa , an international journal. The discovery of a second species of Pristolepis in the southern part of the Western Ghats comes 163 years after Thomas Jerdon described Pristolepis maginatus from the erstwhile Malabar. The genus Pristolepis is a moderate-sized (15 to 20 cms) fish with an interesting disjunct distribution, restricted to the freshwater streams in southern India and most of Indochina and the Sunda Islands.
New freshwater fish
Pristolepis rubripinnis
Mr. Krishnakumar of ATREE said that only four species of the genus Pristolepis are currently considered to be valid. “The Pristolepis rubripinnis differs from all other congeners by its colour pattern. It shows orange red soft dorsal, soft anal and caudal fins and a yellow to orange pelvic fin. It differs further from its south Indian congener P. marginata and the Sundaic P. grootii in having four or five scales above the lateral line as against three in the other two; and 10 scales below it as against nine in the other two. The difference from P. fasciata is in the absence of prominent bars on the body. The etymology of the new species was derived from the Latin words ruber,-a, -um, red, and pinna, wing, an adjective, given here in reference to the orange red characteristic of the fish.”
According to Mr.Krishnakumar, discoveries like this shows that the knowledge on the fishes of Western Ghats is still poor and hence there is an urgent need for extensive explorations and systematic taxonomic research. “Currently, a total of 189 species of endemic freshwater fishes have been reported from the Western Ghats but it is sure that the figure will continue to rise in the coming years,” he said.

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