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Puntius chalakkudiensis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII CYPRINIFORMES CYPRINIDAE

Scientific Name: Puntius chalakkudiensis
Species Authority: Menon, Rema Devi & Thobias, 1999
Common Name(s):
English Miss Kerala Look Alike
Taxonomic Notes: Puntius chalakkudiensis was described by Menon, Remadevi and Thobias (1999) from the Chalakudy River, Kerala, India. 

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered A2acde+4acde ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-07-13
Assessor(s): Raghavan, R. & Ali, A.
Reviewer(s): Rema Devi, K.R., Gopalakrishnan, A., Shaji, C.P., Johnson, J.A., Arunachalam, M., Shrikant, J., Rahul, K., Krishna , K.K. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Justification:
Puntius chalakkudiensis has been categorised as Endangered due to severely declining populations (50-70%) due to collections for the aquarium pet trade in addition to other threats that has resulted in the decline in the quality of habitat and also from exotic species introductions.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Previously thought to be endemic to River Chalakudy (Menon et al. 1999), Puntius chalakkudiensis has recently been recorded from Periyar (R. Raghavan and A. Ali pers. obs.).  The populations of (which were once called) P. denisonii south of Palghat gap is now considered P. chalakkudiensis based on genetic analysis (A. Gopalakrishnan pers. comm.).  Its distribution is restricted to the upper and middle reaches of Chalakkudy, Periyar, Pamba and Achankovil rivers.
Countries:
Native:
India (Kerala)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: On-going studies of Conservation Research Group (CRG), St. Albert's College, Kochi indicate that the species is more abundant in remote habitats (often inside protected areas) in Periyar, Pampa and Achenkovil rivers compared to those outside it (R. Raghavan pers. comm.). In a study by NBFGR, Kochi, the populations of Periyar and Chalakkudy were found to be genetically homogeneous (A. Gopalakrishnan pers. comm.).
In a study by Kurup and Radhakrishnan (2006), the populations of P. denisonii in the various rivers of Kerala declined by 55-70% in five years (2000-2005) based on catch per unit effort.  The P. denisonii populations south of Palghat gap are currently known as P. chalakkudiensis.  Hence the decline rates in the populations are applicable to P. chalakkudiensis.  In another study the species declined by 25% from 2004-2007 based on secondary data from fish collectors (Mercy 2010).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Known from mid stream (and rarely in upstreams) reaches of rivers where they inhabit rocky pools with vegetation on its banks. Substrates vary from sand to bed rock (R.Raghavan and A. Ali pers.obs.).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Collected and exported as an ornamental fish. P. chalakkudiensis is often mistaken with its look alike, the popular Denison Barb, Puntius denisonii and is exported in the latter's name. Since P. chalakkudiensis attains large sizes, they are also used as a food fish by local communities (R.Raghavan and A.Ali pers.obs.).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Apart from the general threats to riverine habitats in Periyar, Chalakudy and Pampa like pollution from domestic sources and plantations, habitat alteration due to dams and barrages and destructive fishing practices (Kurup et al. 2004, Kurup 2002, Raghavan et al. 2008), P. chalakkudiensis is also threatened by the un-managed collection for the international trade in aquarium fish.  In addition, exotic invasive fishes like O. mossambicus  pose a potential threat to the species in all rivers.  The proposed Athirapally hydro-electric project in the type locality might also have an adverse impact on the species.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No conservation actions are in place. Although the Government of Kerala has brought in legislation to regulate the fishery and trade of P. denisonii, P. chalakkudiensis has not been included in the plan (Mittal 2009). There is a need to understand the actual distribution range of P. chalakkudiensis as on-going studies have recorded individuals (which were thought to be P. denisonii) from various locations in South Kerala, having exact morphological characters of P. chalakkudiensis (A.Ali and R. Raghavan pers.obs.). Baseline information need to be generated on the life history and population of this endemic species.  Experimental captive breeding have been attempted with some success (A. Gopalakrishnan pers. comm.).

Citation: Raghavan, R. & Ali, A. 2013. Puntius chalakkudiensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 01 October 2014.
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