IMPHAL: A new fish species of torrent minnow has been discovered yet again from India’s North Eastern state of Manipur. The new species Psilorhynchus konemi locally known as ‘Ngathanu’ in Anal tribe dialect was discovered by a research team of Manipur University’s Department of Life Sciences (fishery unit) from the Chakpi River in Manipur’s Chandel district bordering Myanmar.
“We’ve submitted our paper last year but it was accepted only this month following a thorough examination by the reviewers,” says key researcher Bungdon Shangningam who named the fish in memory of her late father BD Konemi for the continuous support during their research.
“So far I have discovered three such species from Chakpi alone which means this river could be an ideal habitat for them.”
With this, Shangningam had so far discovered as many as 10 new fish species from Manipur’s border streams and rivers namely Chalou, Dutah, Namya and Chakpi. In fact, researchers and scientists believed that Chakpi River, which originates from Tengnoupal peak to join Manipur River at Sugunu before flowing through a narrow gorge to join the Chindwin River in Myanmar, could be a paradise for researchers if conserved properly.
Earlier, this young researcher under the guidance of Prof W Vishwanath, member of IUCN’s fresh water fish specialist group, discovered four species of Psilorhynchus, three species of Garra and 1 species of schistura besides two Psilorhynchus species (under re-description). Six species of torrent minnows of the genus Psilorhynchus namely P Breviminor, P Chakpiensis, P Maculatus, P Microphthalmus, P Ngathanu and P Rowleyi are also distributed in the Chindwin basin of Manipur.
The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, which provides and regulates a uniform system of zoological nomenclature ensuring that every animal has a unique and universally, accepted scientific name declared that fish species is new to the world few days back.
The newly discovered fish is distinguished from other members of the Psilorhynchus homaloptera species group by a combination of characters including colourations on the body dark olive, unbranched pectoral fin rays prominent dark brown and caudal fin with small melanophores and an incomplete black bar. The fish measures around 59 mm which is somehow similar to that of cobotids (Ngakijou in Manipur).
It may be mentioned that earlier in the month of October, a new fish species belonging to genus Physoschistura has been discovered from Lohit River in the easternmost part of the state at Walong under Anjaw district by a survey team of Arunachal Pradesh Regional Centre of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Itanagar.
Source: Eastern Mirror