In a groundbreaking discovery, researchers from the Central University of Odisha have identified a new species of freshwater edible fish in the Koraput district of Odisha. This latest addition to India’s aquatic biodiversity is expected to have a significant impact on the local economy and food culture. The researchers believe that the newly discovered fish species could become a valuable source of income for local fishermen and provide a delicious and nutritious food source for people in the region. This article will delve into the details of this exciting discovery, exploring the characteristics of the new species and its potential impact on the people and the environment of Koraput.
Central University of Odisha scientists uncover a new freshwater food source:
In a remarkable discovery, researchers from the Central University of Odisha (CUO), Koraput, and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) recently found a rare freshwater edible fish from the Kolab River at Ghatguda, Koraput. This new species, named Garra laishrami, was identified during an ichthyological survey conducted by Supriya Surachita, a DST INSPIRE Fellow, under the supervision of Prof. Sharat Kumar Palita, Dean of the School of Biodiversity and Conservation of Natural Resources of CUO, Koraput.
The research team discovered the new species while examining some fishes of the genus Garra. This cyprinid fish species was named Garra laishrami and is known to date only from the type locality Kolab River in the Eastern Ghats of Odisha, Godavari River drainage. The new species is a member of the proboscis species group and is distinguished from other members of this group distributed in the Indian subcontinent by the development of proboscis, degree of tuberculation on the proboscis and transverse lobe on snout and nostrils, position of transverse groove and morph metric data of the body.
The maximum length of the fish is from 76 mm to 95.5 mm. The species is edible and local people consume it. The fishes are usually found under rocks and among stones and boulders of torrential streams and rivers. This finding confirms the biodiversity richness of Koraput region and equally the biodiversity richness of the river Kolab (Saberi near Gupteswar).
The Vice-Chancellor of CUO, Prof. Chakradhar Tripathy congratulated the research team for this outstanding contribution to the field of science and especially to biodiversity. The findings of the study have been published recently in the internationally reputed taxonomy journal “Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters” published from Germany.
Fishes of the genus Garra are elongate, small to medium-sized and bottom-dwelling fishes and are characterized by the presence of a gular disc developed from tissues of the gular region and that exhibit variation in the size, shape, and arrangement of the snout tubercles. These groups of fishes are distributed from Borneo, southern China and southern Asia through Middle East Asia, Arabian Peninsula and East Africa to West Africa.
The discovery of Garra laishrami is significant not only for the scientific community but also for the local economy and food culture. The researchers believe that the newly discovered fish species could become a valuable source of income for local fishermen and provide a delicious and nutritious food source for people in the region.
Prof. S.K. Palita, Head of the research team, is of the opinion that Koraput is a rich reservoir of biodiversity with many species of organisms still unknown to the scientific world. There should be a thorough investigation into this rich biodiversity, and efforts for its conservation are the need of the time. Prof. Palita is hopeful to find some more new species of fish from this region.
Koraput district is located in the south-western part of Odisha, India. The district is blessed with natural resources, including rivers, waterfalls, hills, forests, and wildlife. The region is known for its rich biodiversity, and the Kolab River is one of the important tributaries of the Godavari River.
Freshwater fish are an essential part of the diet of people living in the region. A wide variety of freshwater fish species are found in Odisha, including catfish, murrels, carps, snakeheads, and others. The fishing industry is a significant source.