Carinotetraodon travancoricus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Carinotetraodon travancoricus
Species Authority: (Hora & Nair, 1941)
Common Name(s):
English Malabar Pufferfish, Dwarf Indian Puffer
Tetraodon travancoricus Hora & Nair, 1941
Taxonomic Notes: Carinotetraodon travancoricus was originally described as Tetraodon (Monotretus) travancoricus from Pamba river, Kerala, India (Hora and Nair 1941).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2de+3de+4de ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-09-20
Assessor(s): Dahanukar, N.
Reviewer(s): Arunachalam, M., Madhusoodana Kurup, B., Basheer, V.S., Abraham, R., Krishna , K.K., Raghavan, R. & Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Carinotetraodon travancoricus is considered to be Vulnerable resulting from habitat modifications caused by deforestation and conversion of lands in agricultural areas, increasing urbanization, and overharvesting for the pet trade. It is believed that 30-40% of the population will have declined over a ten year period (five years in the past and five years in the future).

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Carinotetraodon travancoricus is endemic to the Western Ghats of India (Dahanukar et al. 2004) and is found in the coastal areas of Kerala and southern Karnataka. In Kerala the species is known from Pamba river (Hora and Nair 1941), Chalakudy river (Ajithkumar et al. 1999, Biju et al. 1999, Raghavan et al. 2008, Beevi and Ramachandran 2009), Periyar river (Biju et al. 1999, Beevi and Ramachandran 2009), Kechery river (Biju et al. 1999), Bharathapuzha river (Bijukumar and Sushama 2001), Muvattupuzha River (Beevi and Ramachandran 2009), Pudukkad (Inasu 1993), Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Easa and Shaji 1997) and Vembanad lake (Devi et al. 1996). In Karnataka it is known from Mavincar (Devi et al. 2000) and Aghanashini river (Bhat 2004). The inferred extent of occurrence for this species is around 35,000 to 36,000 km2. It has been recorded from 13 rivers in Kerala.
India (Karnataka, Kerala)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species is common in Chalakudy, Periyar and Muvattupuzha River (Beevi and Ramachandran 2009), while it is rare in Bharathapuzha river (Bijukumar and Sushama 2001) and Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Easa and Shaji 1997). The species has declined by 30-40% over the past five years (B.M. Kurup pers. comm. 2010).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Carinotetraodon travancoricus is found in freshwater rivers and it attains a total length of 2.5 cm (Menon 1999). This species moves in shoals and is easy to catch.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Carinotetraodon travancoricus is of no interest to fisheries (Talwar and Jhingran 1991). However, it is a famous aquarium fish popularly known as Indian Dwarf Puffer. Even though no precise information is available on its aquarium trade, overfishing is a threat to the species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The habitat of this fish is severely modified by damming, indiscriminate de-forestation and subsequent conversion of forest area into agricultural plantations (Raghaven et al. 2008). This species is also a famous aquarium fish, and capturing the species for aquarium trade is a threat. Thomas et al. (2002), Dahanukar et al. (2004) and Raghavan et al. (2008) have considered this species as Endangered, however, no rationale is provided. In Chalakudy river the habitat of this fish is severely threatened by damming, indiscriminate de-forestation and subsequent conversion of forest area into agricultural plantations (Raghavan et al. 2008). No such information is available on other areas where the fish is found. However, these threats could be common throughout its distribution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: No specific conservation action plans are in place directed towards Carinotetraodon travancoricus. Site/area and resource/habitat protection could help in conserving this endemic species. More research is needed on the population status, ecology and threats to this species. The species is known from at least one protected area under Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (Easa and Shaji 1997).

Bibliography [top]

Ajitkumar, C.R., Devi, K.R., Thomas, K.R. and Biju, C.R. 1999. Fish fauna, abundance and distribution in Chalakudy river system, Kerala. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 96(2): 244-254.

Beevi, K.S.J and Ramachandran, A. 2009. Checklist of freshwater fishes collected from Ernakulam District, Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(9): 493-494.

Bhat, A. 2004. Patterns in the distribution of freshwater fishes in rivers of Central Western Ghats, India and their associations with environmental gradients. Hydrobiologia 529: 83?97.

Biju, C.R., Thomas, R.K., Ajithkumar, C.R. and George, M.J. 1999. Occurrence of Tetraodon travancoricus (Hora and Nair) in the Chalakudy, Periyar and Kechery rivers, Kerala. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 96(1): 161.

Bijukumar, A. and Sushama, S. 2001. The fish fauna of Bharathapuzha river, Kerala. Journal of Bombay Natural History Society 98(3): 464-468.

Dahanukar, N., Raut, R. and Bhat, A. 2004. Distribution, endemism and threat status of freshwater fishes in the Western Ghats of India. Journal of Biogeography 31: 123-136.

Devi, K.R., Indra, T.J. and Emiliyamma, K. J. 1996. On the fish collections from Kerala, diposited in Southern Regional Station, Zoological Survey of India by NRM Stockholm. Records of Zoological Survey of India 95((3-4)): 129-146.

Devi, K.R., Indra, T.J. and Raghunathan, M.B. 2000. On a report of Tetradon (Monotretus) travancoricus, from south Kanara, Karnataka, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 97(3): 441-443.

Easa, P.S. and Shaji, C.P. 1997. Freshwater fish diversity in Kera a part of the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. Current Science 73(2): 180-182.

Hora, S.L. and Nair, K.K. 1941. New records of freshwater fish from Travancore. Records of the Indian Museum 43: 387-393.

Inasu, N.D. 1993. Sexual dimorphism of freshwater puffer fish, Tetradon (Monotretus) travancoricus Hora & Nair, collected from Trichur District, central Kerala. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 90: 523-524.

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.1). Available at: (Accessed: 16 June 2011).

Menon, A.G.K. 1999. Check list - fresh water fishes of India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, Occasional Paper No. 175.

Raghavan, R., Prasad, G., Ali, A.P.H. and Pereira, B. 2008. Fish fauna of Chalakudy River, part of Western Ghat Biodiversity Hotspot, Kerala, India: patterns of distribution, threats and conservation needs. Biodiversity and Conservation 17(13): 3119-3131.

Talwar, P.K. and Jhingran, A.G. 1991. Inland Fishes of India and adjacent countries. Oxford-IBH Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi.

Thomas, R.K., George, M.J and Biju, C.R. 2002. Freshwater fishes of Southern Kerala with notes on the distribution of endemic and endangered species. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 99(1): 47-53.

Citation: Dahanukar, N. 2013. Carinotetraodon travancoricus. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 04 September 2015.
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