Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Cichlidae

Scientific Name: Etroplus suratensis
Species Authority: (Bloch, 1790)
Common Name(s):
English Green Chromide, Pearlspot Cichlid
Chaetodon caris Hamilton, 1822
Chaetodon suratensis Bloch, 1790
Etroplus meleagris Cuvier, 1830

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-06-28
Assessor(s): Abraham, R.
Reviewer(s): Madhusoodana Kurup, B., Basheer, V.S., Raghavan, R. & Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.

Etroplus suratensis is assessed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large overall population, even though it has a relatively declining trend in the wild, in Kerala.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Etroplus suratensis is distributed in the coastal regions of peninsular India and Sri Lanka. In India, the wild populations  have been recorded from the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. There are also populations in Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal (Jayaram 1981 & 2010, Biju 2005). These are likely introduced populations (V.S. Basheer pers. comm.). The species has now been introduced to dam reservoirs in the mountains and lakes and culture ponds (Rema Devi et al. 2005).
Countries occurrence:
India (Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Kerala, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal); Sri Lanka
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 35000
Number of Locations: 35
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: It is a common, but declining species.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Etroplus suratensis is a euryhaline species that inhabits mainly brackish water and river mouths. It is an oval-shaped cichlid with a short snout, small mouth not extending past the front margin of the eye with a greyish-green colouration on the flanks, with 6 to 8 dark bars and a dark spot at base of the pectoral fin. Most scales on the sides are with a pearly spot (Costa 2007). Macrophytic fragments form the most important component of its diet along with molluscs, although detritus, diatoms, and animal matter are also ingested (De Silva et al. 1984). Many aspects of this species was studies in order to assess it's suitability for culture in ponds and tanks by Jayaprakash et al. (1990).Adults engage in altruistic multiple parental care where several adults care for a single brood that presumably were spawned by only two of the adults (Ward and Wyman 1977).
Systems: Freshwater
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Congregatory: Congregatory (and dispersive)

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Etroplus suratensis is a popular foodfish. It is known locally as Karimeen and is considered a delicacy. The species has been introduced to various other man-made habitats like tanks, ponds and dam reservoirs for culture and export.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Wild populations of Etroplus suratensis are subject to various pressures brought on by people like habitat deterioration brought on by the disposal of solid and liquid wastes and the discharge of human fecal matter from adjacent habitations and an increasing number of tourism resorts and houseboats, which are going beyond the carrying capacity of the backwaters/estuaries.  A major threat is from exotic species like Oreochromis mossambicus, Trichogaster trichopterus (Kurup 2007; Krishnakumar et al 2009).There have also been reports in the past, of the Epizootic Ulcerative Syndrome (EUS) disease outbreak, which has been to have spread in South and south-east Asia since 1980 (Pathiratne & Rajapakshe 1998).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:  Despite the species being in high demand, the wild populations of the species have not been given sufficient conservation attention. There have been attempts in the past to create 'no fishing zones' within some of the larger estuaries and the species did seek refuge in these protected zones. Such No-fishing zones should be extrapolated to other regions as well, to guarantee effective genetic preservation. This is declared as the state fish by the government of Kerala. Captive breeding has been undertaken by Padmakumar et al. (2004). An aquatic sanctuary was made in Vembanad Lake for this species. The Vembanad lake protection forums has started 'Matsyatavalam' (home of fishes) for the sustainable fisheries of this species. Cage culture of this species is being practiced in Vembanad Lake and Vypin Islands.

Citation: Abraham, R. 2013. Etroplus suratensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T172368A6877592. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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