Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Siluriformes Sisoridae

Scientific Name: Bagarius yarrelli
Species Authority: (Sykes, 1839)
Taxonomic Notes: Bagarius yarrelli was described from the Mutha Mula River at Pune (Sykes 1839). This species is considered to be very widespread by Roberts (1983), but there are indications that only one species is found in the Indian subcontinent (for which B. bagarius is a senior synonym), and that it is not conspecific with species from Southeast Asia. Examination of material reveals that the Indian populations ascribed to this species have thinner pectoral-fin spines that have longer filamentous extensions that may represent an interspecific difference (H.H. Ng pers. comm.). Although it is currently unsure whether the populations in Southeast Asia represent only one or more species, several junior synonyms of B. yarrelli are available (B. lica, B. nieuwenhuisi), should these prove to be distinct from the Indian populations. The only revisionary study by Roberts (1983) is an oversimplification of the taxonomy of the group and the taxonomic status of Bagarius from throughout the Indian subcontinent is badly in need of critical study.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-13
Assessor(s): Ng, H.H.
Reviewer(s): Allen, D.J., Vishwanath, W., Molur, S. & Dahanukar, N.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
The taxonomic status of Bagarius from throughout the Indian subcontinent is badly in need of critical study.  Irrespective of the confusion surrounding the taxonomy of this species, the currently known populations of Bagarius yarrelli are harvested heavily in different parts of its range as food fish and for ornamental trade and as sport fish.   Based on the study in West Bengal the status of the species, as it is currently understood, is assessed as Near Threatened.  It is important that the species should be re-assessed following resolution of its taxonomic uncertainty and the subsequent species identified may all then qualify for a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Although this species is said to be widely distributed throughout south and southeast Asia (Roberts 1983), future studies on its taxonomy may show it to be conspecific with B. bagarius sensu stricto and restricted to the Indian subcontinent (whether in part or whole).
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; China (Yunnan); India; Nepal
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Although there is little information on the population and its status (in part exacerbated by the taxonomic confusion surrounding the group), there are indications that this species is suffering declines in parts of its range. A considerable decline in the population in southern West Bengal of 29.2% over four decades from 1960 to 2000 reported for B. bagarius may refer to this species (Mishra et al. 2009).
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species inhabits a variety of fluviatile habitats, although it is typically associated with swift, clear rivers with a substrate of rocks and sand.
Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is caught as a food fish in many areas of its distribution.  Juveniles and subadults are often caught for the ornamental fish trade. Large adult catfish are also often caught as game fish by recreational anglers.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): As a large, predatory fish that is actively caught for food, this species is in some danger of being overexploited. Even though current indications are that this species is still relatively abundant, the current fishing pressure on this species (at least on the Indian subcontinent) is likely to be unsustainable; local declines reported in some studies for B. bagarius may refer to this species (Mishra et al. 2009). However, more empirical data is needed to support this claim. The effects of other potential anthropogenic threats such as habitat destruction and competition from alien species need to be further ascertained (H.H. Ng pers. comm.).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: More research about the distribution and the biology of this species is needed, as there is insufficient information available. Potential threats to this species also need to be identified. The taxonomic identities of all populations from South and Southeast Asia considered to belong to this species are badly in need of further investigation, as it is very likely that what is now considered to be a single species consists of more than one (geographically circumscribed) species.

Citation: Ng, H.H. 2010. Bagarius yarrelli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T166503A6223581. . Downloaded on 07 October 2015.
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