Freshwater fish fauna of rivers of the southern Western Ghats, India

Arunkumar, Anbu Aravazhi; Manimekalan, Arunachalam

The Western Ghats of India is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hotspots” of biological diversity in the world. It is also referred to as the “Great Escarpment of India”. This paper provides information on the diversity of freshwater fish fauna of six river systems of the southern Western Ghats. The study area has been identified geographically using a GPS, and the respective topographic map has been digitized using ArcGIS software. The fish fauna were collected from various streams and rivers using cast nets, dip nets, gill nets and drag nets. Among the 31 georeferenced sites sampled from the rivers of the southern Western Ghats, a total of 64 species, belonging to 6 orders, 14 families and 31 genera, were recorded. Among them, the order Cypriniformes was dominant, with 3 families, 18 genera and 49 species (76.6 %). Principal component analysis and cluster analysis were performed to express the contribution of the variables and their influence on the species diversity. Interestingly, of the 31 sites, Thunakadavu stream, Gulithuraipatti, Athirapally, Naduthotam, Nadathittu, Mullaithodu, Thonanthikla, Noolpuzha and Sinnaru exhibited high variation in species diversity. Nearly 15 species were found to be threatened in the Western Ghats. Garra periyarensis and Cirrhinus cirrhosus are known to be vulnerable and Hemibagrus punctatus is critically endangered because of various anthropogenic activities. The study clearly indicates that certain timely measures have to be taken immediately to protect the fish fauna in the southern Western Ghats (uri



Arunkumar, Anbu Aravazhi / Manimekalan, Arunachalam: Freshwater fish fauna of rivers of the southern Western Ghats, India. 2018. Copernicus Publications.


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