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Bagarius bagarius

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII SILURIFORMES SISORIDAE

Scientific Name: Bagarius bagarius
Species Authority: (Hamilton, 1822)
Taxonomic Notes: Bagarius bagarius was described from the Ganges River (Hamilton 1822). Since the revisionary study of Roberts (1983), the name has been applied to a species that apparently reaches a smaller maximum size (ca. 200 mm SL) than congeners and considered to be common in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent and much of Indochina. However, a detailed study of material (by H.H. Ng) throughout South and Southeast Asia has found that the material identified as this species in Indochina is not conspecific with that from the Indian subcontinent. Furthermore, no evidence of more than one species of Bagarius in the Ganges-Brahmaputra system (and possibly throughout all of the Indian subcontinent) was found. This means that all of the material currently identified as B. yarrelli from throughout the Indian subcontinent is likely to be reassigned to this species, and that material from Southeast Asia is likely to represent species other than B. bagarius (or B. yarrelli). The taxonomic status of Bagarius from throughout the Indian subcontinent is thus 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., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Justification:
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 bagarius 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 distributed in the Mekong, Chao Phraya, Ganges and Brahmaputra river drainages (Kottelat 2001), further studies on its taxonomy may show it to be restricted to the Indian subcontinent (whether in part or whole) (H.H. Ng pers. comm.).
Countries:
Native:
Bangladesh; Bhutan; 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 has been reported (Mishra et al. 2009).
Population Trend: Decreasing

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 (H.H. Ng pers. comm.).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The species is utilised as a food fish across much of its range. 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, as evidenced by local declines reported in some studies (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:

The confused taxonomy surrounding the identities of Bagarius species in the Indian subcontinent is badly in need of resolution in order to accurately assess their conservation status. There is insufficient information on the distribution, biology and potential threats for this species. Being a large predatory fish that is often fished for food, catch data for this species in other areas of its natural distribution is also needed.                                                                  


Citation: Ng, H.H. 2010. Bagarius bagarius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 July 2014.
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