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Freshwater River Fishes of Maharashtra

India is rich with inland freshwater fish, with about 940 species known from its rivers, lakes and estuaries. This constitutes about 38% of the Indian Ichthyofauna and are of considerable economic and scientific value. Of these about 500 species are primary freshwater fish with around 65% endemic, cloistered in the two hot spots of India, the Western Ghats and the North East. Many of these are unique to certain stretches of the various rivers especially the upper reaches and many more new species are being reported from these forested hills. However, threats to these fauna are aplenty, with urbanization, deforestation, habitat loss, pollution, over-harvesting, and culture of exotics. The only way for a fish enthusiast to save the fish and its habitats is creating awareness among the people. In this context, knowledge of the fish fauna of a region is the first step towards conservation.

The Fresh water fish resource of Maharashtra constitutes 6 orders 25 families and 160 species. There are many species like Oriochromis, Grass carp, common carp, silver carp, etc. that have been introduced in the inland water of Maharashtra.
 
The Black-line Rasbora (Rasbora daniconius) is a benthopelagic and potamodromous species. It occurs in a variety of habitats: ditches, ponds, canals, streams, rivers and inundated fields, but is primarily found in sandy streams and rivers. It is also found in brackish waters. It sometimes forms large schools. It is found in the rivers of Maharashtra and Karnataka in India. The body is oblong and compressed. The greatest width of the head equals its post-orbital length. It is about 200 mm in size.
 
The Giant Danio (Devario aequipinnatus) is a tropical fish belonging to the minnow family Cyprinidae. Originating in Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the West coast of India, this species grows to a maximum length of 6 inches making it one of the largest of the danionins. In the wild, Giant Danios live in clear streams and rivers among hills at elevations up to 1000 ft. above sea level. In captivity, the Giant Danio will usually accept most foods. It is a semi-aggressive fish, and may bully other fish in community tanks. The giant danio appreciates water movement to simulate the motion of the rivers and fast-moving streams that it comes from. It is a schooling fish. An egg-scatterer, danios produce around 300 eggs in a single spawning. They spawn in clumps of plants.
 
The scarlet-banded barb (Puntius amphibius) is a species of ray-finned fish in the genus Puntius. Max length : 10.0 cm. Commonly found in Mountain stream and rivers of Maharashtra. also found in Rice Field. life span approx. 4 year.
 
The Banded Mountain Loach (Acanthocobitis urophthalmus) is a species of ray-finned fish in the Balitoridae family. Restricted to the south western lowlands. Commonly found rivers in state of Maharashtra. Found in shallow, flowing waters over pebble substrate. Probably feeds on invertebrates and detritus. A hardy species that is among the favorites in the aquarium fish trade.
   
Nilgiris Garra (Garra gotyla stenorhynchus) is found in fast flowing streams with boulders and rocks in Mountain rivers in Western Ghat. Maximum length : 15.5 cm.
   
Tiger Muri (Schistura fasciolata) is found in freshwater and brackish water, Mountain stream and river in Maharashtra.
Maximum length : 6 cm.
   
 


Photographed by

Shailendra Patil : +91 - 9322722483 / 022 - 23743741
Email :
shailendra@rainbowgroups.org / wildshailendra@gmail.com

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