Nemacheilus rueppelli


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Nemacheilus rueppelli
Species Authority: (Sykes, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Mongoose Loach
Cobitis rueppelli Sykes, 1839
Nemachilichthys rueppelli (Sykes, 1839)
Noemacheilus rueppelli (Sykes, 1839)
Taxonomic Notes: Nemacheilus rueppelli was originally described as Cobitis rupelli (note that the species name is different but it could be a spelling mistake because the author has named this species after Rüppell) by Sykes (1839) from Bhima and Mula-Mutha rivers of Pune, Maharashtra, India. The generic status is often debated. Day (1878) considered the genus Nemachilichthys, which is followed by Jayaram (1999), while Banarescu and Nalbant (1968) considered the genus Noemacheilus, which is followed by Menon (1987, 1999). Talwar and Jhingran (1991) considered the genus Nemacheilus, which is currently valid.

Nemachilichthys shimogensis (Rao 1920) was synonymized with Nemacheilus rueppelli by several workers (Talwar and Jhingran 1991, Jayaram 1999, Menon 1999). However, Banarescu and Nalbant (1968) have suggested that the two species are separate and while N. rueppelli is restricted to the tributaries of Krishna River in northern Western Ghats, N. shimogensis is restricted to Tungabhadra and its head waters. Currently, Froese and Pauly (2010) and Eschmeyer and Fricke (2010) consider the two species distinct.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2010-09-19
Assessor(s): Dahanukar, N.
Reviewer(s): Rema Devi, K.R., Gopalakrishnan, A., Arunachalam, M., Shrikant, J., Johnson, J.A., Rahul, K. & Molur, S.
Contributor(s): Molur, S.
Nemacheilus rueppelli is assessed as Least Concern based on the fact that its expected extent of occurrence and number of locations are more than the threshold for any threatened category and no wide spread threats have yet been identified for the species. However, it is essential to note that in Pune, the type locality of the species, the species has faced drastic declines due to increasing urbanization and pollution of these rivers. If such changes are reported from other areas the species may qualify for a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Nemacheilus rueppelli is endemic to the Western Ghats of India (Dahanukar et al. 2004). It is mainly recorded from the Western Ghats of Maharashtra but it could be found in the northern Karnataka. Population in the southern Karnataka, mainly from the Tungabhadra river, is Nemachilichthys shimogensis. Therefore, the records of Nemacheilus rueppelli by Bhat (2004) and Shahnawaz and Venkateshwarlu (2009) should be verified as they could be Nemachilichthys shimogensis.

In Maharashtra the species is known from Indrayani River (Mandar Paingankar, Rupesh Raut, S. S. Kharat and Neelesh Dahanukar, manuscript in preparation), Mula-Mutha River (Sykes 1841, Fraser 1942, Tonapi and Mulherkar 1963, Kharat et al. 2003, Wagh and Ghate 2003), Bhima river (Sykes 1841), Neera river (Neelesh Dahanukar, Mandar Paingankar, Rupesh Raut and S.S. Kharat, manuscript in review), Krishna river near Wai (S. S. Kharat, Mandar Paingankar and Neelesh Dahanukar, manuscript in preparation), Koyna river (Jadhav et al. 2011), Panchaganga river (Kalawar and Kelkar 1956) and Nirar river system (Arunachalam 2000).
The expected extent of occurrence for this species is about 52,000km2 and the number of locations are about 8 to 15.
India (Maharashtra)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Exact population status of Nemacheilus rueppelli is not known but it is found in good numbers in most of the rivers in northern Western Ghats. The population of the fish in Mula-Muth rivers of Pune, the type locality of the species, however, has declined drastically (N. Dahanukar pers. obs.), which could be attributed to increasing urbanization and pollution of these rivers (Kharat et al. 2000, 2003).
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Nemacheilus rueppelli is found mostly in Ghats areas. It is found in streams, rivers and lakes below the ghats with pebbly bed and it attains a standard length of 7.4 cm (Menon 1999). Deforestation leading to siltation and pollution of the rivers can modify the habitat of this species. Such changes are ongoing in several locations where the species is distributed (Kharat et al. 2003, N. Dahanukar, pers. obs.).
Systems: Freshwater

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Nemacheilus rueppelli does not have a fishery value (Talwar and Jhingran 1991) but it is caught and sold in local markets and is preferred by many (N. Dahanukar pers. obs.).  Nemacheilus rueppelli is also an aquarium fish commonly called as Mongoose Loach. It is not known whether the harvesting of the fish and its aquarium trade could pose a threat to the species.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): No information is available on wide spread threats to Nemacheilus rueppelli. Nonetheless, the population of the fish in Mula-Muth rivers of Pune, the type locality of the fish, has declined drastically (N. Dahanukar pers. obs.), which could be attributed to increasing urbanization and pollution of these rivers (Kharat et al. 2000, 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Currently there are no specific conservation action plans directed towards Nemacheilus rueppelli. Research is essential on the distribution, population status, life history, ecology and threats to this species. Some populations of this fish could be protected in Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Citation: Dahanukar, N. 2013. Nemacheilus rueppelli. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <>. Downloaded on 30 July 2014.
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