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Cirrhinus cirrhosus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA ACTINOPTERYGII CYPRINIFORMES CYPRINIDAE

Scientific Name: Cirrhinus cirrhosus
Species Authority: (Bloch, 1795)
Common Name(s):
English Mrigal Carp, Mrigal, White Carp
Synonym(s):
Cirrhina blochii Valenciennes, 1842
Cirrhinus blochii Valenciennes, 1842
Cirrhinus chaudhryi Srivastava, 1968
Cirrhinus cuvierii Jerdon, 1849
Cirrhinus horai Lakshmanan, 1966
Cyprinus cirrhosus Bloch, 1795
Dangila leschenaultii Valenciennes, 1842
Mrigala buchanani Bleeker, 1860
Taxonomic Notes: Though Roberts (1997) considered mrigala a synonym of this species, it is observed that both are quite distinct. C. cirrhosus has four barbells whereas mrigala has only two barbells; dorsal branched rays are 15-16 in cirrhosus vs. 12-13 in mrigala.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable D2 ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2011-03-17
Assessor(s): Rema Devi, K.R. & Ali, A.
Reviewer(s): Dahanukar, N., Raghavan, R. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S. & Bogutskaya, N.
Justification:
C. cirrhosus has been assessed as Vulnerable because, even though the species has a wide distribution, it is found in less than five locations (possibly just one as the species is found in one basin within its natural range, the Cauvery River, and the major threat is from introduced Gangetic carps which could range throughout the system).

A large population decline, possibly of more than 80% based on catch data, has been recorded in the past, however this occurred more than three generations ago. More information is needed from current catch data to see if the population is still declining, and if so, at what rate.
History:
2009 Vulnerable
2007 Vulnerable (IUCN 2009.2)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Cirrhinus cirrhosus is presently known in its native range only from the Cauvery River system in India (Menon 2004). Historically the species was wider ranging, being known from the Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery Rivers (Day. F 1978, referenced in Menon 2004). It has been introduced to many countries outside of India.
Countries:
Native:
India (Tamil Nadu, West Bengal)
Introduced:
Bangladesh; Bhutan; Cambodia; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Malaysia; Mauritius; Myanmar; Nepal; Pakistan; Philippines; Sri Lanka; Thailand; Viet Nam
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: A decline in catch data has been observed in the past; in Indian reservoirs, the C. cirrhosus comprised 20-47 % of the catch in 1943 - 1944, but declined to 2% of the catch in 1965 - 1966 due to the introduction of the Gangetic major carps Catla catla and Labeo rohita.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: C. cirrhosus is benthopelagic and potamodromous plankton feeder. It inhabits fast flowing streams and rivers, but can tolerate high levels of salinity. Spawning occurs in marginal areas of the water body with a depth of 50-100 cm over a sand or clay substrate. A 6 kg female can lay a million eggs. Juveniles are omnivorous to about 5 cm total length (TL), adults are almost entirely herbivorous. This fish has a rapid growth rate; by the age of two individuals can reach a length of 60 cm and can weigh as much as 2 kg.
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Due to its hardy nature and rapid growth, it is popular as a food fish. It is the most widely farmed species among the Indian major carps and an important component of carp polyculture throughout South Asia. It was introduced for aquaculture to other areas of India beyond its natural range in the early 1940s and in the 1950s and 1960s to other Asian countries. It fails to breed naturally in ponds, thus induced breeding is done. In Nepal, C. cirrhosus, along with two other cyprinids (L. rohita and C. catla), makes up a significant share of the total aquaculture production. These species are popular as a delicacy compared to other cultured exotic carps and accordingly fetch much higher prices.
This species has been introduced into many Asian countries as a food source; the percentage of wild harvest compared with aquaculture is not known.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): C. cirrhosus is threatened by introduced Gangetic major carps. In Indian reservoirs, the C. cirrhosus comprised 20-47 % of the catch in 1943 - 1944, but declined to 2% of the catch in 1965 - 1966 due to the introduction of the Gangetic major carps Catla catla and Labeo rohita.

Present threats to C. cirrhosus are loss of habitat, introduced species, overexploitation and pollution.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It has been recommended that caution should be taken when stocking major Gangetic carps (carp species from the Ganges) in the river systems in peninsular India, to avoid the extirpation of the locally commercially important carps, such as C. cirrhosus.

Deep pools in the courses of rivers should be declared as sanctuaries and fishing strictly prohibited within them, to protect the brooders especially when they rest during the period of low discharge in summer months.

Citation: Rema Devi, K.R. & Ali, A. 2013. Cirrhinus cirrhosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 31 August 2014.
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