Sahyadria denisonii 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Cypriniformes Cyprinidae

Scientific Name: Sahyadria denisonii (Day, 1865)
Common Name(s):
English Red Line Torpedo Barb, Denison Barb, Miss Kerala
Labeo denisonii Day, 1865
Puntius denisonii (Day, 1865)
Taxonomic Source(s): Eschmeyer, W.N. (ed.). 2015. Catalog of Fishes. Updated 7 January 2015. Available at: (Accessed: 7 January 2015).
Taxonomic Notes: Puntius denisonii was described by Day (1865) from Mundakkayam, Kerala, southern India.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acde+3cde; B2ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2010-07-06
Assessor(s): Ali, A., Raghavan, R. & Dahanukar, N.
Reviewer(s): Gopalakrishnan, A., Rema Devi, K.R., Shaji, C.P., Arunachalam, M., Johnson, J.A., Vidyadhar, A., Rahul, K., Krishna , K.K. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S., Bogutskaya, N. & Rema Devi, K.R.
Sahyadria denisonii has been assessed as Endangered as populations have declined by more than 50% in the recent past due to indiscriminate exploitation for the international aquarium pet trade. These declines are expected to continue in the foreseeable future unless local management plans, as well as national and international legislations are created and implemented. The species also has a restricted range with an area of occupancy of less than 300 km² with continuing decline in quality of key habitats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Sahyadria denisonii is endemic to the Western Ghats where it occurs as fragmented populations in the states of Kerala and Karnataka (Raghavan et al. 2010, Prasad et al. 2008). Known from the rivers Chandragiri (Biju 2005, Kurup et al. 2004), Valapatanam (Biju 2005), Karyangod (Kurup and Radhakrishnan 2006), Chaliyar (Shaji et al. 2000), Kuttiyadi (R. Raghavan and A. Ali pers.obs.), Bharatapuzha (Kurup et al. 2004), Sullya (R. Raghavan and A. Ali pers.comm), Kuppam, Iritti, Anjarakandipuzha and Bhavani River in Chavadiar (Mercy 2010; A. Gopalakrishnan pers. comm.).

Populations have also been reported from Chalakudi (Radhakrishnan and Kurup 2006), Periyar (Thomas 2004), Manimala (Thomas 2004), Achenkovil (Kurup et al. 2004), and Pampa (Thomas 2004). These localities however represent S. chalakkudiensis (A. Gopalakrishnan pers. comm.).
Countries occurrence:
India (Karnataka, Kerala)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:300
Number of Locations:11
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The total population of S. denisonii is unknown. However the species is considered to be rare (Radhakrishnan and Kurup 2006, Kurup and Radhakrishnan 2006). Studies conducted at Cochin University of Science and Technology have indicated that populations of S. denisonii has declined at a rate of 70% at key collection sites (Kurup and Radhakrishnan 2006). A recent ongoing study by the Conservation Research Group, St. Albert's College, Kochi has observed that the species is overfished in Valapatanam River (exploitation rate E = 0.596) in Kerala (Raghavan 2010). In another completed study by MPEDA, based on the secondary data collected from the collectors, the catch by the collectors increased from 2003 to 2007 in Valapattanam, Kuttiyadi, Chalayar and Chandragiri rivers (Mercy and Malika 2010).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:Yes
Continuing decline in subpopulations:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Sahyadria denisonii is a stream dwelling fish with an affinity towards rocky pools, edges with thick overhanging vegetation along its banks (Radhakrishnan 2006, Raghavan et al. 2009). However they have also been observed from a wide variety of riverine habitats including run, glide and riffles with sand, gravel, cobbles and boulders as substrates (Biju 2005). They are gregarious and often appear in shoals. The species is known to spawn during the North East Monsoon in the months of November-January (Manoj et al. 2010, R. Raghavan and A. Ali pers. obs.).
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Sahyadria denisonii is the most popular and highly priced freshwater ornamental fish of the Western Ghats. Of India's total live ornamental fish exports to the tune of 1.54 million US$ during 2007-2008, S. denisonii accounted for almost 60-65% (Mittal 2009). This colourful barb is so popular in the hobby that it has been requested in majority of the trade enquiries and exported regularly from India (Sekharan and Ramachandran 2006). The larger individuals of S. denisonii are also used as food fish by the local communities and tribes in the forest areas of Kerala (A. Ali and R. Raghavan pers. obs.). Captive bred S. denisonii are being exported from Indonesia and Singapore (Mittal 2009).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Collection for the international aquarium pet trade is the single major threat to S. denisonii  (Mittal 2009, Prasad et al. 2007). Harvest of 'yet to be mature' juveniles as well as brooders is a major concern as the fishery is unregulated and 'open access'. In addition, there is an on-going decline in habitat quality at prime habitats of S. denisonii due to pollution from plantations as well as domestic sources. Destructive fishing for larger food fish using dynamites and plant poisons also affect S. denisonii as they share habitats with the larger cyprinids.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: To regulate the harvest and trade of this cyprinid, the Government of Kerala (India) has initiated management plans including fixing total allowable catch (TAC), restrictions on gear size, closed seasons. There are also plans to demarcate certain key S. denisonii habitats as sanctuaries and no take zones (Mittal 2009).  Although the captive breeding technology for this species has been developed by both researchers and hobbyists (Manoj et al. 2010; Mathew 2008; Mercy et al. 2010), commercial scale operations have not started. There are reports that S. denisonii is being captive bred in Indonesia and Singapore and exported (Mittal 2009), but the impacts of such operations on the collection and exports from India is yet to be understood.

Life history studies on the species have been conducted by Radhakrishnan and Kurup (2008) and Harikrishnan et al. (2008) studied the population dynamics in \the rivers of Kerala. Distinct genetic stocks identified in Chandragiri, Valapattanam and Chaliyar rivers (Lijo unpublished PhD thesis, NBFGR).

A species specific conservation plan requires urgent attention.

Citation: Ali, A., Raghavan, R. & Dahanukar, N. 2015. Sahyadria denisonii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T169662A70082469. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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