ICAR-CMFRI identifies two new species of needlefish from Indian waters

ICAR-CMFRI identifies two new species of needlefish from Indian waters
The analysis confirmed that these newly identified species have unique characteristics. New fishes were scientifically named as Ablennes joseberchmansis and Ablennes gracalii

Kochi: Adding two more fishes to the Indian marine biodiversity, researchers at the ICAR-Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) have scientifically described two new species of needlefish from Indian waters. They found out that the previously identified flat needlefish (Ablennes hians) is a complex of at least three distinct species.

Genetic and molecular analysis, coupled with taxonomic examination, confirmed that these newly identified species have unique characteristics. New fishes were scientifically named as Ablennes joseberchmansis and Ablennes gracalii.

The research was carried out by Toji Thomas, a research scholar at CMFRI, under the guidance of Dr. EM Abdussamad, Principal Scientist.

The study focused on specimens collected from Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu. These commercially valuable fishes are known for their palatability and nutritional content. Primarily caught using hook-and-line methods, they are identifiable by their green spines and elongated beaks with sharp teeth. Their market price is around 400 rupees per kilogramme.

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Found abundantly along the Indian coast, these fishes are pelagic resources and are available for fishing in the upper water column (0-20 metres depth).

According to CMFRI, further research is needed to understand the distribution and population patterns of the newly identified fishes in Indian waters. Given their high demand, the researchers believe these fish have the potential to benefit the country’s marine fisheries sector.

The research team also included Dr. Shijin Ameri, Badarul Sijad, and Dr. KK Sajikumar from CMFRI. Their findings were published in the Journal of Regional Studies in Marine Science.

For over 75 years, ICAR-CMFRI has solidified its position as a leading research institution in tropical marine fisheries globally. From its beginnings, CMFRI has witnessed significant expansion in scale and renown, enhancing its research facilities and drawing in skilled professionals.

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