29 September 2022.
A new catfish species has been discovered by ICAR-NBFGR.
- The new species of catfish belongs to the genus Pangasius.
- It was found in Mettur Dam in Salem district, Tamil Nadu, by the ICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR).
- It was discovered when a team of scientists headed by director of ICAR-NBFGR visited the Mettur Dam to study the difference between the species of catfish found upstream and downstream of the River Cauvery.
- The researchers made detailed morphological analysis, skeleton radiography and advanced molecular markers as well as the species delimitation computational techniques.
- Through this study, they found that Pangasius specimens from the river Cauvery are different from other species of the genus Pangasius.
- The newly discovered species has been christened Icaria after the ICAR-NBFGR’s parent organization ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research).
- The newly species is edible and the locals call it aie keluthi in Tamil.
- The holotype of this species is registered at the National Fish Museum and Repository of ICAR-NBFGR in Lucknow.
- The name of this species is registered in ZooBank – the online registration system of the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
- The new species is different from other species of catfish by its small rounded vomerine and palatine tooth plates, longer maxillary and mandibular barbels, more vertebrae and smaller caudal peduncle depth.
- Catfish has high commercial value in aquaculture and wild capture fisheries.
- The discovery of the new species helps improve the strategy to manage, conserve and utilize this fish.
About Mettur Dam
The Mettur Dam is the largest dam in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. It is situated across the Cauvery River. It was built in 1934. It took over 9 years to complete this dam having the maximum height of 214 feet and width of 171 feet. It is the main source of irrigation in the Cauvery Delta Region in Tamil Nadu.