Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 October 2021 | 13(12): 19813–19817


ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print)

#7005 | Received 17 December 2020 | Final received 28 June 2021 | Finally accepted 25 September 2021



New record of the Sewing Needle Zipper Loach Paracanthocobitis linypha Singer & Page, 2015 (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae) from the Chindwin drainage of Manipur, India


Yumnam Rameshori 1, Yengkhom Chinglemba 2  & Waikhom Vishwanath 3


1–3 Department of Life Sciences, Manipur University, Canchipur, Manipur 795003, India.

1, 2 (corresponding author), 3




Editor: Rajeev Raghavan, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, Kochi, India. Date of publication: 26 October 2021 (online & print)


Citation: Rameshori, Y., Y. Chinglemba & W. Vishwanath (2021). New record of the Sewing Needle Zipper Loach Paracanthocobitis linypha Singer & Page, 2015 (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Nemacheilidae) from the Chindwin drainage of Manipur, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 13(12): 19813–19817.


Copyright: © Rameshori et al. 2021. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: DBT, Government of India, (BCIL/NER-BPMC/2017/164).


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We are very grateful to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, New Delhi (Project No. BCIL/NER-BPMC/2017/164) for research grant.




Abstract: Paracanthocobitis linypha Singer & Page, a freshwater nemacheiline zipper loach, is reported for the first time from the Lokchao River of Manipur (headwaters of Chindwin drainage), in northeastern India. The species is diagnosed in having an incomplete lateral line, flank with 10–14 thin dark bars, long bars occasionally alternating with short bars extending up to about lateral mid-line, interspaces broader than bar width. Morphometric and meristic data of the examined specimens were compared with the original description to validate the species identity.


Keywords: Freshwater nemacheiline, Lokchao River, new report, northeastern India.




Fishes of the genus Paracanthocobitis Grant, 2007 are widely distributed in southern and southeastern Asia, ranging from the Indus drainage in eastern Pakistan to the Mekong drainage in Cambodia and Laos (Rainboth et al. 2012). The genus is diagnosed in having a thickened lower lip, swollen medially, densely covered by papillae, the two halves are in contact anteriorly and globulous medially, followed laterally up to the rictus by a thin, narrow, and smooth part; upper lip with several rows of papillae; 9½–15½ branched dorsal-fin rays; anus closer to anal-fin origin; male suborbital flap is located more posteriorly with its extremity under the middle of the eye, the lower edge of the lateral ethmoid is marked by a groove extending forwards beyond the nostrils (Kottelat & Vishwanath 2021). 

Hora (1921) reported the presence of Paracanthocobitis zonalternans (Blyth, 1860) from the Chindwin drainage and P. botia (Hamilton, 1822) from the Brahmaputra drainage of Manipur, northeastern India. Recently, Kottelat & Vishwanath (2021) clarified that P. zonalternans, which Hora recorded from the Chindwin drainage is actually P. marmorata Singer et al., 2017. Additionally, Vishwanath & Laisram (2001) also clarified that Hora’s report of P. botia from Manipur was erroneous as the collection was made from a place named Ghaspani in the present state of Nagaland, India, and extended the distribution of P. botia to the Barak drainage in Manipur.

A recent ichthyological survey in the Lokchao River of Manipur, Chindwin drainage, resulted in the collection of 10 specimens of Paracanthocobitis.   After detailed examination, the specimens were identified as Paracanthocobitis linypha Singer & Page, 2015 and the species is hereby reported for the first time from the Chindwin drainage in Manipur, northeastern India.


Materials and Methods

Measurements and counts follow Singer & Page (2015). Measurements were made with digital callipers on the left side of the specimens to the nearest 0.1 mm. Measurements of body parts and head length are presented as proportions of standard length (SL) and subunits of head, as that of head length (HL). Fin rays, pores on lateral line and cephalic lateralis system were counted under a stereo-zoom microscope using transmitted and reflected light. The values in parenthesis following a count indicate the frequency of that count. Specimens are preserved in 10% formalin and deposited in the Manipur University Museum of Fishes (MUMF), Imphal.



Paracanthocobitis linypha Singer & Page, 2015 (Image 1)

Common name: Sewing Needle Zipper Loach

Materials examined: MUMF 18051–18055, 5 ex., females, 09.v.2019, Lokchao River, Tengnoupal District, Manipur, India, 24.239°N 94.271°E, 261 m, 37.4–43.1 mm SL, coll. Yumnam Rameshori & Achom Darshan; MUMF 18056–18060, 5 ex., males, same data as above.

Diagnosis: Paracanthocobitis linypha is distinguished from all other species of Paracanthocobitis by the following combination of characters: 10–14 thin dark bars on flank, long bars occasionally alternating with short bars extending up to about lateral mid-line; interspaces wider than bars; an incomplete lateral line; absence of axillary pelvic lobe; males with suborbital flap.

Description: Morphometric and meristic data are presented in Table 1 and 2 respectively. Body moderately elongate, anterior sub-cylindrical, posterior compressed; body depth greatest at dorsal-fin origin. Dorsal profile of body arched, rising gently from tip of snout to dorsal-fin origin, then sloping evenly to caudal-fin base; ventral profile almost straight up to anal-fin origin, then inclined gently towards end of caudal peduncle. Head depressed, snout slightly rounded, maximum head width 1.6–1.9 times interorbital width. Eyes almost spherical, situated close to dorsal profile of head, nearer to tip of snout than to end of opercle, not visible in ventral view. Caudal peduncle 0.9–1.2 times longer than deep.

Body and belly completely covered by embedded scales. Lateral line incomplete, ending before end of adpressed pelvic fin, in some specimens reaches up to at least anal-fin origin. Cephalic lateral line system with 5–7 supraorbital, 3–4+10 infraorbital, 6 preoperculo-mandibular and 3 supratemporal pores. Anterior and posterior nostrils adjacent. Mouth moderately arched, about 1.7–2.1 times wider than long. Lips thin, fleshy and papillated. Processus dentiformis present. Lower lip with a deep medial interruption. Barbels 3 pairs; inner rostral barbel slightly extend beyond base of maxillary barbel, outer rostral and maxillary barbel reaching slightly beyond vertical to posterior rim of eye. 

Dorsal fin with 8½ (2) or 9½ (2) or 10½ (6) branched rays, its origin slightly in advance to vertical of pelvic-fin origin. Anal fin with 5½ (10) branched rays; pectoral fin with 11 (8) or 12 (2) rays; pelvic fin with 7 (2) or 8 (8) rays. Axillary pelvic lobe absent. Caudal fin slightly emarginate to truncate, lobes equal, with 8+8 (10) branched rays.

Sexual dimorphism:  Males with prominent suborbital flap; dorsal surface of pectoral fin of males with thick unculiferous pad covered by small conical tubercles (Image 2).

Coloration: In 10% formalin, body background pale yellowish with 10–14 thin dark bars on flank, most of them continuous with saddles on dorsum, long bars occasionally alternating with short bars extending up to about lateral mid-line; interspaces wider than bars. Dorsum of head with many dark spots. Dorsal fin with 5–6 rows of black spots. Pectoral, pelvic, and anal fin hyaline with little pigments on proximal end. An ocellus with more or less round black spot near dorsal margin of caudal-fin base. Caudal fin with 6–7 rows of V-shaped dark bands with vertices pointed towards distal end of caudal-fin. 

Distribution: Presently known from the Irrawaddy and Sittang drainages in Myanmar. The occurrence of Paracanthocobitis linypha in the Lokchao River extends the natural occurrence range of the species into the Chindwin drainage of Manipur, northeastern India.



Grant (2007) proposed Paracanthocobitis as a subgenus of Acanthocobitis Peters, 1861 with Cobitis zonalternans Blyth, 1860 as the type species. However, Kottelat (2012) did not recognize the subgenus Paracanthocobitis stating that the differentiating characters of Paracanthocobitis from Acanthocobitis are not clear, and the designation of the subgenus was not on the basis of actual examination of specimens, except one live individual and few photographs. Subsequently, Singer & Page (2015) recognized Paracanthocobitis as a distinct genus and listed 14 species including P. linypha which they described from the Irrawaddy and Sittang drainages in Myanmar.

At present, 18 species of Paracanthocobitis are considered valid (Fricke et al. 2021). The morphometric and meristic data of the examined Paracanthocobitis specimens collected from Manipur are in sync with the original morphometric and meristic data as well as characters in the description, except for few deviations such as body depth and pre-pelvic length (Table 1). Also, the examined specimens have 8½–10½ (vs. 9½–11½) branched dorsal-fin rays (Table 2). In the original description of P. linypha, the lateral line was suggested to end before distal end of adpressed pelvic fin; however, in some of the specimens examined from Manipur, lateral line reaches up to at least anal-fin origin. These minor differences may be due to limited coverage of populations in the original description, and habitat variations. Detailed analysis is required to assess location-specific threats, and to understand the status and trends in population of the species.



Table 1. Morphometric data of Paracanthocobitis linypha (n= 10).


          MUMF 18051–18060

Singer & Page (2015)



Mean ± SD


Standard length (mm)








% SL




Body depth




Head length




Caudal-peduncle depth




Pre-dorsal length




Pre-pelvic length




Pre-anal length




Snout length




Pectoral-fin length




Pelvic-fin length




% HL




Eye diameter




Interorbital width






Table 2. Meristic counts of Paracanthocobitis linypha (n= 10).


MUMF 18051–18060

Singer & Page (2015)

Branched dorsal-fin rays

8½ (2), 9½ (2), 10½ (6)


Branched anal-fin rays

5½ (10)

Pectoral-fin rays

11 (8), 12 (2)


Pelvic-fin rays

7 (2), 8 (8)


Caudal fin ray count

 8 + 8 (10)

8 + 8



For figure & images - - click here





Blyth, E. (1860). Report on some fishes received chiefly from the Sittang River and its tributary streams, Tenasserim Provinces. Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 29: 138–174.

Chaudhuri, B.L. (1912). Description of some new species of freshwater fishes from north India. Records of Indian Museum 7: 437–444.

Fricke, R., W.N. Eschemeyer & R. van der Laan (2021). Eschemeyer’s catalog of fishes: Genera, species, references. Accessed on 26 June 2021. Available from:  

Grant, S. (2007). A new subgenus of Acanthocobitis Peters, 1861 (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Ichthyofile 2: 1–9.

Hamilton, F. (1822). An Account of the Fishes found in the River Ganges and its Branches. Archibald Constable & Company, Edinburgh, 405pp.

Hora, S.L. (1921). Fish and fisheries of Manipur with some observations of those of the Naga Hills. Records of the Indian Museum 22: 166–214.

Kottelat, M. (2012). Conspectus cobitidum: an inventory of the loaches of the world (Teleostei: Cypriniformes: Cobitoidei). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplements 26: 1–199.

Kottelat, M. & W. Vishwanath (2021). Type locality and synonymy of Paracanthocobitis marmorata and notes on Acanthocobitis (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 69: 13–18.

Peters, W. (1861). Über zwei neue Gattungen von Fischen aus dem Ganges. Monatsberichte der Königlichen  Preuss[ischen] Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin 1861: 712–713.

Rainboth, W.J., C. Vidthayanon & M.D. Yen (2012). Fishes of the greater Mekong ecosystem with species list and photographic atlas. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 201.

Singer, R.A. & L.M. Page (2015). Revision of the zipper loaches, Acanthocobitis and Paracanthocobitis (Teleostei: Nemacheilidae), with descriptions of five new species. Copeia 103(2): 378–401.

Vishwanath W. & J. Laisram (2001). Fishes of the subfamily Nemacheilinae Regan (Cypriniformes: Balitoridae) from Manipur. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 98(2): 197–216.