Researchers exploring the waters of the Pampa river in Pathanamthitta have chanced upon a new species of edible freshwater fish that could possibly be farmed on a commercial scale.
The new species that belongs to the Labeo genus is only the second one to be reported from Kerala. Named Labeo filiferus , it has been collected from the stretch of the Pampa running through Edakadathy in Pathanamthitta.
The two researchers, Mathews Plamoottil, Assistant Professor, Government College, Chavara, Kollam, and Primoz Zupancic from the Dinaric Research Institute, Slovenia, Europe, have reported the discovery in the latest issue of Bioscience Discovery , an open access research journal.
The fishes in the Labeo genus are widely distributed in the inland waterbodies of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, tropical Africa and Syria. They are medium- sized elongate fishes with rounded abdomen, swollen snout, finged lips and a straight lateral line.
As many as 31 species of Labeo are reported to be present in India, with L.rohita , commonly known as Rohu, extensively used in aquaculture. The only other Labeo species reported from Kerala is L.dussumieri .
According to the authors, L.filiferus was found to be distinct from the other species of the genus in its features including black coloured body and fins, prominent barbels, smaller eyes, longer snout and elongated dorsal and anal fins. The eyes are brilliantly coloured with orange tinge. The specimens were 20 to 40 cm long and weighed four to five kg.
The name filiferus was taken from Latin ( filum in latin means ‘thread’ and fero means ‘to bear’) and refers to the very long dorsal fin of the species.
The authors expect more species of the Labeo genus to be discovered in the near future from the aquatic bodies in north and central Kerala.
Dr.Mathews said L.filiferus had been registered by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature and the holotype deposited at the museum of the Zoological Survey of India at Shillong.