Fisheries | VOL. 15, ISSUE 90, May-June 2015

Pethia Striata

Western Ghat’s Newly Discovered Member

A new species of fish has been discovered in the Western Ghats in India. Named Pethia striata, the fish was uncovered in a stretch of the Tunga River that falls within the Kudremukh National Park, in the central part of the Western Ghats, Karnataka. V M Atkore, an ecologist and a PhD student at the Bangalore-based Suri Sehgal Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation, was studying the effects of habitat disturbance on fish biodiversity in the Kudremukh National Park when he stumbled upon this discovery. “It was May 9, 2011”, he recollects, “when I saw this fish. I am conversant with the aquatic life of the region as I have studied it extensively, but this was a fresh specimen.” He promptly sends photographs to K Rema Devi, incharge, Southern Regional Centre of Zoological Survey of India, who confirmed his hunch of this being a hitherto undiscovered species. Atkore and his team concluded that the 3-4 cm long species were distinct in several ways, but the most striking characteristics were the pattern of scales, which form oblique bars and the black blotch just before the tail. Very distinct rings are also visible in both the sexes. The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, in the journal Copia, documented that the new species is distinguished from its congeners by the combination of the following characters: absence of barbels;...

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