CCMB scientists find armoured sailfin catfish has spread to 60% of water bodies of Eastern Ghats

The fish species was once introduced for its unique appearance and its ability to clean algal growth in tanks and aquaria but its population has grown exponentially

Published - May 11, 2024 04:26 pm IST - HYDERABAD

CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) scientists have found out that the invasive armoured sailfin catfish has spread to 60% in the water bodies of Eastern Ghats, damaging the fishing nets and the eco-system also.

The fish species was once introduced for its unique appearance and its ability to clean algal growth in tanks and aquaria but its population has grown exponentially and this was realised through a unique ‘eDNA-based quantitative PCR assay’ developed by the institute scientists to map the presence and spread of such invasive species, said an official release on Friday.

eDNA is environmental DNA collected from water samples and in this case, the scientists including chief scientist G. Umapathy and Neeldeep Ganguly looked for the DNA of the catfish specifically through this innovative method. Invasive species when introduced species in a new ecosystem can grow rapidly and often lack predators which threatens the new ecosystem and livelihoods depending on it.

“Our technique helps in the early detection of the armoured sailfin catfish and its distribution in the Eastern Ghats waterbodies. This significantly adds to continuing invasive species management efforts that directly help the survival of native and economically important fishes. Prior detection of invasive fish is crucial for preserving ecosystems, reducing loss of fish catch and supporting ecological equilibrium.,” said Dr. Umapathy.

Unlike conventional methods, eDNA approach is reliable, and accurate, can be done a low cost and can be used in a large landscape like Eastern Ghats water bodies within a few months. In a single lab test, about 20 waterbodies can also be tested for the presence of invasive species using the eDNA approach accurately, said CSIR-CCMB director Dr. Vinay K. Nandicoori, The work of the scientists has been published in the journal - Environmental DNA, added the release.

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