Tor putitora 

Scope: Global
Language: English

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Tor putitora (Hamilton, 1822)
Common Name(s):
English Putitor Mahseer, Golden Mahseer
Barbus macrocephalus McClelland 1839
Barbus progeneius McClelland 1839
Labeobarbus macrolepis Heckel 1838
Tor mosal mahanadicus David 1953
Taxonomic Notes:

Originally described as Cyprinus putitora by Hamilton (1822). Barbus macrocephalus McClelland, 1839 and Cyprinus mosal Hamilton, 1822 are considered its synonyms. Hora (1939) placed the species under the subgenus Tor and the species was known as Barbus (Tor) putitora.  Later Menon (1954) placed this under the genus Tor.  The current nomenclature in use is Tor putitora

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A4acde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-10
Assessor(s): Jha, B.R. & Rayamajhi, A.
Reviewer(s): Rema Devi, K.R., Arunachalam, M., Dahanukar, N. & Daniel, B.A.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.

Tor putitora is a widely distributed species in south and southeast Asia, with a restricted area of occupancy.  However, the species is under severe threat from overfishing, loss of habitat, decline in quality of habitat resulting in loss of breeding grounds, and from other anthropogenic effects that have directly resulted in declines in harvest in several locations. In addition, with several dams planned for construction in the future in the Himalayan region, they could have a more drastic effect on tor populations blocking their migrations and affecting their breeding.  Inferring population declines from observed cases with that of the trends across the entire distribution range, the species is estimated to have declined by more than 50% in the past and if the current trends continue and with the new dams being built, the population may decline even up to 80% in the future. The species is therefore assessed as Endangered and is in need of urgent conservation efforts to save it from becoming locally extinct in several locations.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The species has been reported from across the Himalayan region and elsewhere in south Asia and southeast Asia, ranging from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India (Darjeeling to Kashmir), Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, western Iran to eastern Thailand.

David Edds reported the species from Nepal from Mulghat, on the road from Dharan to Hile, Kachali river confluence, Kahare, Sabha river confluence, just east of the Tumlingtar, Brahamadev, Andhi Mohan-Andhi river confluence, Piluwaa river confluence, Gorangi - about 4 km west of Chisapani, Khalte, Chapang, purchased at Koshi barrage, just east of Katasi, Khairenitar, Narayangarh.

Countries occurrence:
Afghanistan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; India (Assam, Bihar, Darjiling, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Nepal; Pakistan; Sri Lanka; Thailand
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):UnknownEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:UnknownLower elevation limit (metres):70
Upper elevation limit (metres):1891
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is the most common mahseer of the Himalaya and is also sometimes known as the golden, yellow-finned, grey-hound or the thick-lipped mahseer. It grows up to 2.7 m.

Annual productivity of the species declined from 0.198 gm2 per year to 0.054 gm2 per year (73%) in the Tehri Dam located in the Garhwal Himalaya, India (Sharma 2004). Since it is a heavily fished species, population declines in the entire range is inferred to be anywhere between 40-50% over the last ten years.

Catches have declined in some areas (e.g. in the valley lakes around Pokhara, Nepal) due to overfishing.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Inhabits the montane and submontane regions, in streams and rivers. T. putitora is a major tor distributed in mid hills stretches of Himalayan region. It inhabits rapid streams with rocky bottom, riverine pools and lakes. It seems that Sahar neither inhabits the warm terai climate nor streams of very cold climate; but in natural conditions it inhabits moderately cold and climate regions of tropical highlands. The fish is a column feeder in freshwater found in pH ranges 7.4 - 7.9 and in subtropical condition 13°C-30°C. It is omnivorous in nature during their adult stage and feed on periphytic algae and diatoms in juvenile stage. The feeding and breeding habitats are lost almost throughout their distributional range. 
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):15.75
Movement patterns:Altitudinal Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The commercial fishery of Putitor mahseer in Jammu, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh consists largely of individuals either ascending streams for breeding or the spent ones returning to perennial ponds in plains. In Assam the population of Tor are fast depleting and at present are chiefly localised to certain major river systems only. This most attractive sport-fish with excellent food value, is fast approaching extinction in the streams and lakes of northern India. Large fishes are only found in some of the perennial pools.

In the early sixties, the species constituted one of the major species for commercial fisheries in lakes of the Pokhara Valley, Nepal. But presently this species is a negligible part of the total catch. Recent observation on growth of the species in the tropical climate of the terai showed that the growth is more rapid in warm water region than in colder waters. Traditional people have been using the blood of cut fish in foot and mouth disease; it is also applied on sore wounds in legs too. The species constitutes one of the important fish species in capture fishery in Nepal, India and several other trans-Himalayan countries.


Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): In Assam the population is fast depleting and at present are chiefly localised to certain major river systems and is fast approaching extinction in the streams and lakes of northern India. Large fishes are only found in some of the perennial pools.

This species is declining from its natural habitat due to urbanization, illegal encroachment, over fishing and chemical and physical alterations of their natural habitats.

Fishery productivity declined in the Tehri Dam in the Garhwal Himalaya, India. The stress on the population is not only due to its over exploitation, but also due to the rise in developmental activities, especially the growing number of hydroelectric and irrigation projects which have fragmented and deteriorated its natural habitat.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Further research is required in to the impact of threats, especially over-harvesting and habitat degradation.

The species has the potential for being ranched in rivers/artificial channels of Nepal and other countries of the Trans-Himalayan region.

At present, attempts to culture and conserve Tor spp. have been initiated in most trans-Himalayan countries to compensate for the decline. Strategies for preservation of existing stock by habitat conservation, development of seed production technology for restocking and culture have been undertaken to promote the population.

Citation: Jha, B.R. & Rayamajhi, A. 2010. Tor putitora. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T166645A6254146. . Downloaded on 17 July 2018.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided