Danio and two new loaches discovered in Western Ghats

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Scientists from India have discovered three fish in the Western Ghats, Karnataka, India, which they believe to be undescribed.

The three fishes - a Danio, a Schistura and a Mesonemacheilus loach - were discovered from the Western Ghats region of Karnataka by Dr PK Pramod, the State Coordinator of Ornamental Fish Development at Mangalore's Marine Products Export Development Authority.

The fish, which Pramod believes to be undescribed, were collected from streams in Agumbe and other tributaries flowing into the Sita River in the area's Shimoga district.

Dr K Rema Devi and Dr TJ Indra of the Zoological Survey of India confirmed the identity of the fishes as undescribed.

The three fishes are due to be formally described shortly. The Danio is being described by Dr K Rema Devi.

New Danio. Picure by Dr PK Pramod.

Pramod told Practical Fishkeeping: "Danio sp. and Schistura sp. were collected from a high altitude stream (more than 2000 feet above sea level) ending to Sita River.

"Danio sp. is characterised by two pairs of elongated barbels. The dorsal half of the fish is bluish green, flanks with golden yellow stripe extending behind the eye to the tip of the caudal fin. Below the flanks, on the upper belly a deep blue colouration in the form of a band starting behind the operculum to the tail fin rays.

"Belly silvery with lemon yellow coloured pelvic and anal fins. Dorsal and anal fins are with two rows of deep blue lines on the yellow fins."

The new Danio is believed to be the same species as the one reported last month. (See Unusual new Danio-like fish discovered, News, 22 January, 2008).

New Schistura loach. Picure by Dr PK Pramod.

Pramod said that the Schistura was similar to Schistura denisonii denisonii, which has also been reported from the Western Ghats.

"Schistura sp. is yellowish brown in colour with 11-13 bands on the body; the bands starts from the posterior part of the pectoral fin. Dorsal fin is provided with beautiful black markings.Pectoral fin golden yellow in colour, Ventral anal and caudal fins are deep yellowish without any dots or markings. Posterior half of the body is pinkish yellow in appearance.

New Mesonemacheilus loach. Picure by Dr PK Pramod.

"Mesonemachelius sp. is olive green in colour with granulations and with numerous black blotches on the body and flanks.

"Dorsal and caudal fins have rows of markings. Ventral and Pectoral fins are pale yellowish. Dorsal and caudal fins with 3 rows of black markings. A prominent reddish colouration is present on the caudal peduncle."

The three fishes were discovered and identified as part of efforts to create a database on the indigenous ornamental fishes in the Western Ghats region of Karnataka.

The work follows similar projects to catalogue ornamental fishes found in Kerala and other parts of the Western Ghats.

Pramod added: "The newly discovered varieties of the Western Ghats goes to show that the Western Ghats with its pristine rivers harbours a rich variety of freshwater species which still remain to be explored and described.

"These attractive species have good potential to be introduced as ornamental fish varieties in the domestic and international ornamental fish trade.

"But the resource abundance of the species should be studied and captive breeding technology should be perfected prior to popularisation of the fishes in trade."

The fish were found in a stream feeding a water fall. The pH was 6.3-6.4 and temperature was 21-22 degrees Celsius.