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[[ Puntius Hamilton ]]
The genus Puntius Hamilton is diagnosed by the following combination of characters: absence or presence of maxillary only or rostral and maxillary barbels; dorsal fin with last simple ray serrate or entire, branched rays usually 8; anal fin with last simple ray entire, branched rays usually 5; lateral line complete or incomplete, lateral-line scales 17-36 in row; cephalic cutaneous papillae minute or absent; pharyngeal teeth in 3 rows, usually 2,3,5/5,3,2; colour pattern extremely variable (Roberts, 1989). According to Kottelat (1999), Puntius is a catchall ‘genus’ in which a large number of unrelated small barbs have been placed.
Manipur, with its varying forms of water bodies harbours many species of Puntius . Hamilton (1822) described Cyprinus ticto ZBK (now Puntius ) from the Gangetic basin. While describing Barbus stoliczkanus ZBK (now Puntius ) from the Chindwin basin, Pegu and Moulmein, Day (1878) wrote that the species supersedes the distribution of P. ticto in the east. Hora et al (1937), Talwar and Jhingran (1991) and Jayaram (1991) considered P. stoliczkanus ZBK to be a junior synonym of P. ticto . Hora (1921), without giving any collection data, reported P. ticto to be very common in the Imphal valley. Menon (1953) recorded the species from fields near Kanglatombi and from the banks of Imphal River (Chindwin basin). Menon (1954) recorded the species from Manipur without discussing its distribution by basin.
In order to clarify the identity and distribution of Puntius ticto and P. stoliczkanus ZBK , several collections have been made from the Barak and Chindwin drainages for a detailed study. The present work reveals that two species are distinct. Puntius ticto is restricted to the Barak basin while P. stoliczkanus ZBK is restricted to the Chindwin basin. Puntius ticto , as reported by Vishwanath & Juliana (2004) from the Imphal River is P. ater , described here as a new species. Another species from the Khuga River is also described here as P. khugae .