Puntius Hamilton

I. Linthoingambi & W. Vishwanath, 2007, Two new fish species of the genus Puntius Hamilton (Cyprinidae) from Manipur, India, with notes on P. ticto (Hamilton) and P. stoliczkanus (Day)., Zootaxa 1450, pp. 45-56 : 54-55

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Puntius Hamilton


[[ Puntius Hamilton View in CoL View at ENA ]]


Puntius ater and P. khugae are unique among species of Puntius in Manipur in having one black longitudinal stripe on the side of the body. The former species is distinguished from the latter in having a black edge on the dorsal fin, 13-17 serrae (modally 13) on the dorsal fin spine, 10-11 (modally 10) predorsal scales, modally 26 or 27 (range = 25-29) lateral-line scales, and a longer gut (2.0-2.5 times total length). Puntius khugae has no black edge on the dorsal fin, 10-12 serrae (modally 10) on the dorsal fin spine, 9-10 (modally 9) predorsal scales, modally 29 (range = 28-30) lateral-line scales, and a shorter gut (0.9-1.2 times total length) (Tables 1 & 3). Taki et al (1978) classified species of Puntius having broad and elevated infraorbital 3+4 in the Puntius conchonius-group . The two new species have similar structures and thus may be included in the group.

Puntius ater inhabits sluggish streams of the Imphal River and its tributaries, while P. khugae inhabits the Khuga, a comparatively faster clear-water stream. The latter species has a shorter gut (Fig. 2a & b) and probably is a sympatric species adapted to a different environment with a different food habit.

Hamilton (1822) described P. ticto from Gangetic basin. He observed the pelvic fin of the species to have one undivided ray in front and two behind. Similar observations were also made in the present study.

Hora et al. (1937) observed variations in P. ticto and treated P. punctatus   ZBK of Peninsular India and P. stoliczkanus   ZBK of the Irrawady as its junior synonyms. Silas (1952), however, regarded P. punctatus   ZBK and P. stoliczkanus   ZBK as subspecies of P. ticto . Jayaram (1991) did not give subspecies status to P. punctatus   ZBK and P. stolizckanus as the fishes showed great variation in morphology. He also considered P. ticto to be widely distributed and not restricted to any definite geographical region.

Day (1871) described P. stoliczkanus   ZBK from the Chindwin basin, Pegu and Moulmein. He reported the species to have a less compressed body and weaker serrations in the dorsal spine compared to P. ticto . Hora (1936) distinguished P. stoliczkanus   ZBK from P. ticto in having weaker serrations on the dorsal spine, and also in differences in the positions of lateral spots and the numbers of predorsal scales. Jayaram (1981) considered P. stoliczkanus   ZBK to be a subspecies of P. ticto . Kottelat (2001) reported on the occurrence of P. stoliczkanus   ZBK in the Irrawady, Salween, Mekong and Chao Phraya basins.

Early workers had access to very few, poorly preserved specimens. Thus, species were poorly described. Variations in ontogenic development were not considered, and several species from different geographically isolated habitats were put together as highly variable species. Various workers (Kottelat, 1996; Kottelat & Lim, 1993, 1995; Ng & Dodson, 1999; Ng & Kottelat, 2000; Chakrabarty & Ng, 2005; Ng, 2005) reexamined such ‘highly variable’ widely distributed species and concluded that they were in fact aggregates of distinct, often not even closely related species. Puntius ticto and P. stoliczkanus   ZBK were also examined and found to be distinct (Table 1).

None of the fish collections from the Chindwin basins of the state contained P. ticto . The species reported as P. ticto by previous workers from the valley were probably misidentifications of P. stoliczkanus   ZBK or P. ater . It may be concluded that P. ticto is a Brahmaputra form, and P. stoliczkanus   ZBK is a Chindwin form.

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