A priliminary report on the ichthyofauna of Yedayanthittu Estuary (Tamil Nadu, India) and rivulets draining into it

 

M. Eric Ramanujam 1 & R. Anbarasan 2

 

1,2 Pitchandikulam Bioresource Centre, Auroville, Puducherry 605101, India

Email: 1 tdef@auroville.org.in ; ericramanujam@yahoo.co.in ; 2 anbarasan_ecol@yahoo.com

 

 

 

Date of online publication 26 May 2009

ISSN 0974-7907 (online) | 0974-7893 (print)

 

Editor: M. Arunachalam

 

Manuscript details:

Ms # o1701

Received 05 January 2007

Final received 21 January 2008

Finally accepted 15 May 2009

 

Citation:  Ramanujam, M.E. & R. Anbarasan  (2008). A priliminary report on the ichthyofauna of Yedayanthittu Estuary (Tamil Nadu, India) and rivulets draining into it. Journal of Threatened Taxa 1(5): 287-294.

 

Copyright: © M. Eric Ramanujam & R. Anbarasan 2009. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium for non-profit purposes, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.

 

Acknowledgements: We are thankful to UBS for the materials and means to carry out this study.  We are also thankful to Dr. Rema Devi and Dr. T.J. Indra of Zoological Survey of India, Southern Regional Station for their invaluable help in identification of species.

 

 

 

For Figure, Images & Table – Click here

 

Yedayanthittu Estuary is part of the Kaliveli wetland complex which includes the Kaliveli Floodplain, Uppukalli Creek and lowland streams draining into it. The ichthyofauna of Kaliveli Floodplain and Uppukalli Creek has already been assessed (Ramanujam 2005).  This report concerns the list of species found in the estuary and and lowland streams.

 

Study Area and Methods

The Kaliveli complex has already been described (Ramanujam 2005). Lowland drains behind Kurumpuram Reserve Forest (Villupuram District, Tamil Nadu) are part of the Arni River complex and has its origin in the Eastern Ghats.

Yedayanthittu or Muttukadu Estuary (12012’-12015’N & 70056’-8000’E) extends from a little north of Marakkanam Road Bridge to the point of confluence with the Bay of Bengal at Alamparai (Kancheepuram District, Tamil Nadu).  It is an area of intertidal mudflats and salt pans.  It was once linked to Pulicat Lake via Chennai by the Buckingham Canal (Scott 1998).  The feature of the estuary is that during the monsoon season (September-mid November) the salinity is low (<1600uS/cm), but during the rest of the year it is brackish (1,600-4,800uS/cm), saline (4,800-51,500uS/cm) and even hypersaline (>51,500uS/cm) depending on the tides and proximity to the sea.  The naturally occurring vegetation consists of sea grasses such as Halophila ovalis, mangroves such as Avicennia marina and Rhizophora sp. (the latter has been planted lately) and algae such as Chaetomorpha, Enteromorpha, etc.  A degraded mangrove swamp also exists whose dominant vegetation includes Avicennia marina, Salicornia brachiata, Arthrocnemum indicum, Suaeda maritima and Sesuvium portulacastrum.

The study period was from January 2006 to December 2006.  Specimens were collected randomly with local fishermen all over the estuary.  In addition, small fish stranded in pools when the water receeds (that commercialists ignore) were collected.  Identification was based on Daniels (2002), Day (1878), Jayaram (1981), Talwar & Kacker (1984), Talwar & Jhingran (1991) and Venkateswarlu & Rao (1986).

 

Results and Discussion

A total of 75 species were recorded under 14 orders and 37 families.  Perciformes dominated with 32 species (42.66%).  47 species were found exclusively in the estuary, 18 were in lowland streams and  10 species occurred both in the estuary and freshwater.  Oreochromis mossambica is the only exotic species.

Inventorisation of living resources is of paramount importance to evolve conservation and management strategies, especially when economically important species are involved. As of date it is unfortunate that the Kaliveli Wetland has received little attention (from the viewpoint of the ichthyologist), this report gains importance as the Kaliveli Wetland has been described as one of the two most important wetlands along the Coromandel Coast of southern India (Perennou 1987; Perennou & Santharam 1990).

 

References

Chacko, P.I., J.G. Abraham & R. Andal (1953). Report of the survey of the flora, fauna and fisheries of the Pulicat Lake, Madras state, India. 1951-1952. Contribution of the Freshwater Fisheries Biological Station 8: 20.

Cuvier, G. & A. Valencienennes (1828-1849). Historie naturelle des poisons. Paris - Strasbourg, 11030pp + 621pls.

Daniels, R.J.R. (2002). Freshwater Fishes of Peninsular India. Universities Press (India) Private Limited, Hyderabad, 288pp + 32pls.

Day, F. (1878). The Fishes of India; Being a Aatural History of the Fishes Known to Inhabit the Seas and Freshwaters of India, Burma and Ceylon. Text and Atlas in four parts. William Dawson & Sons Ltds., London, xx + 778pp, 196pls.

Devi, K.R., T.J. Indra & M.B. Raghunathan (2004). Fishes of Pulicat Lake. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 102: 33-42.

Jayram, K.C. (1981). The Freshwater Fishes of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, 475pp.

Kaliyamurthy, M. & K.J. Rao (1972). Preliminary observations on the food and feeding habits of some fishes of the Pulicat Lake. Journal of the Inland Fisheries Society of India IV: 115-121.

Kaliyamurthy, M., S.K. Singh & S.B. Singh (1986). Distribution of Gerres lucidus Cuv. In the Pulicat Lake. Matsya 12: 45-51.

Krishnan, S. & S.S. Mishra (2004). An inventory of fish species described originally from fresh and coastal waters of Pondicherry. Records of the Zoological Survey of India 102: 65-87.

Perennou, C. (1987). Two important wetlands near Pondicherry. Blackbuck 3: 1-9.

Perennou, C. & V. Santharam (1990). An anthropological survey of some wetlands in south-east India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 87: 354-363.

Raman, K., M. Kaliyamurthy & G.R.M. Rao (1975a). Studies on the biology of Ambassis gymnocephalus (Lac.) from Pulicate and Vembanad Lake. Matsya 1: 49-52.

Raman, K., K.V. Ramakrishna, K.V. Radhakrishnan & G.R.M. Rao (1975b). On the hydrobiology and benthic ecology of Pulicat Lake. 3rd All India Symposium on Estuarine Biology, Cochin.

Ramanujam, M.E. (2005). A preliminary report on the Ichthyofauna of Kaliveli Floodplain and Uppukalli Creek, Pondicherry, India, with some notes on habitat, distribution, status and threats. Zoos’ Print Journal 20: 1967-1971.

Rangaswamy, C.P. (1975). Maturity and spawning of Mugil cephalus of Lake Pulicat. Recent Researches in Estuarine Biology. Ed. R. Natarajan. Hindustan Publishing Co., Delhi, 47-60.

Saxena, B.S. (1988). Culture of Tilapia in India - a policy issue. Proceedings of the First Indian Fisheries Forum. Asian Fisheries Society, Indian Branch, Mangalore, 39-40.

Talwar, P.K. & A.G. Jhingran (1991). Inland Fishes of India and Adjacent Countries. Oxford & I.B.H., New Delhi, 541pp.

Talwar, P.K. & R.K. Kacker (1984). Commercial Sea Fishes of India. Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, 997pp.

Venkateswarlu, T. & K.V. Rao (1986). Valid scientific names to Day’s Fish Fauna of India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India. Occasional Paper 87: 48.