A Study on Ichthyofaunal Diversity of Yerla River, Northern Western Ghat, Maharashtra, India
Keywords:fish diversity, endemics, threats, conservation, Yerla River
The freshwater fish fauna of Yerla River, Sangli district was studied between 2021 to 2022. It is aimed at making a comprehensive checklist and to find out real anthropogenic threats to the fish fauna of Yerla River. A total of 58 species belonging to 7 orders, 19 families and 40 genera were recorded. Order Cypriniformes were the most dominant one and represents 33 species followed by Siluriformes (13 species), Anabantiformes (4 species), Cichliformes (3 species), Beloniformes (2 species), Synbranchiformes (2 species) and Gobiiformes (1 species). Among these, 17 species are endemic from the Western Ghats and 4 species endemic from the Krishna River System. As per IUCN’s Red list of Threatened Species, 41 species assessed as least concern; 3 species as near threatened; 2 species as vulnerable; 4 species as endangered; 4 species as Data Deficient and the conservation status of one species Pethia sanjaymoluri has not yet been assessed. The fish fauna of the river is threatened due to alien species and some anthropogenic activities like releasing of agricultural effluents, domestic organic wastes and non-degradable plastic materials owing to tourism activities. Since, this small study area hosts 17 endemic and 6 threatened species. Therefore, Yerla River will be the most suitable habitat for conservation of endemic and threatened species.