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Scientists discover new freshwater fish species in Odisha’s Kolab river

The new species of freshwater fish, Garra laishrami, discovered in Odisha's Koraput district by scientists of Central University of Odisha and Zoological Survey of India

Odisha’s Kolab river at Ghatguda in Koraput district recently yielded a new species of freshwater fish which is edible. This new species was found by the scientists of the Central University of Odisha and the Zoological Survey of India.

While doing her ichthyological or fish survey Supriya Surachita, Department of Science & Technology Inspire Fellow found this new cyprinid (family of freshwater fish) from Kolab river – one of the important tributaries of Godavari.

Surachita is conducting research on “Diversity, distribution of fishes and threats in the freshwater bodies of Koraput in Eastern Ghats of Odisha” under supervision of Prof. Sharat Kumar Palita who is a Dean of School of Biodiversity and Conservation of Natural Resources, CUO.

The CUO scientists in collaboration with B. Roy Choudhury of ZSI have identified this new species. They have been christened as Garra laishrami.

Incidentally, the new variety of fish has been named after Dr. Laishram Kosygin of ZSI to honour this scientist’s contributions to study of Indian freshwater fishes.

The fish category Garra are elongated and their size vary from small to medium. These bottom-dwelling fishes are characterised by the presence of gular disc. This fish variety is found in Borneo, southern China and southern Asia, Arabian Peninsula and from East Africa to West Africa.

What makes this new variety, that is Garra laishrami unique is that till now it is known to be present in Kolab river in Odisha’s Eastern Ghats. The maximum length of the fish varies from 76 mm to 95.5 mm and the species is edible as local people consume it. They are generally found under rocks and among stones and boulders of torrential streams and rivers.

The discovery of the new species reflects the rich biodiversity of the Kolab river and according to researchers Koraput needs to be studied in-depth to know about the varied types of organisms that are in existence in the region. Prof. Palita is hopeful to find some more new species of fish from this region.

Details of the study of this new species has been published in Germany’s taxonomy journal “Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters”.