fish species Puntius euspilurus

New Fish Species Found in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram:  A new fish species Puntius euspilurus was discovered in Wayanad of Kerala. According to Mathews Plamoottil, HOD and Assistant Professor in Zoology, Govt. College, Chavara, the new fish species of ‘cyprinidae’ family are beautifully coloured, food and aquarium fishes widely distributed in fresh water bodies of South and Southeast Asia.

Puntius euspilurus can be distinguished from other species of the genus in having a slender body, feebly osseous, weak, flexible and smooth last simple dorsal fin ray and body without any spot except at caudal fin base.

Puntius euspilurus is an edible freshwater fish residing in the water bodies of Wayanad. It may be a unique fish showing similarity with mahecola barbs. Elongated body with feebly osseous last simple dorsal ray separates this fish from other fishes of the family. It prefers rapidly flowing shallow and clear waters, he said.

According to local fishermen, it appears in great numbers in paddy fields during the onset of southwest monsoon. The new species is said to occur only in unpolluted areas. Protection of water bodies is inevitable for the survival of the new species. Species of Puntius can be broadly classified into those with non osseous or feebly osseous, weak and flexible last simple dorsal fin ray and those with osseous, rigid and strong last undivided dorsal fin ray.

Four specimens of Puntius species with feebly osseous last simple dorsal fin ray were obtained from Wayanad of Kerala. Species of this genus are generalized and exhibit great variations even within the individuals of the same species. This causes great difficulty in identifying these species with common taxonomic characters.