Invasion of South American suckermouth armoured catfishes Pterygoplichthys spp. (Loricariidae) in Kerala, India - a case study

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A. Bijukumar
R. Smrithy
U. Sureshkumar
S. George


This paper documents the occurrence of the exotic South American suckermouth armoured catfishes (Loricariidae) of the genus Pterygoplichthys spp. in the drainages of Thiruvananthapuram City, Kerala.  The morphological taxonomy revealed that the specimens are closely related to Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus (Weber, 1991) and P. pardalis (Castelnau, 1855), in addition to intermediary forms of unknown identity.  DNA barcoding using the mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase 1 (CO1) also failed to establish the identity of the invaded species.  There may be possible hybridisation in aquariums or in fish farms or in the wild, but this needs to be found out aided by detailed studies incorporating different molecular markers and with sequences of topotypes.  The possible threats due to Pterygoplichthys spp. invasion and management options are discussed in the paper.


Article Details

Author Biographies

A. Bijukumar, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695581, India

Dr. A. Bijukumar is the Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala


R. Smrithy, Department of Aquatic Biology and Fisheries, University of Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695581, India

R. Smrithy Raj is the research scholar working in the same Department.


U. Sureshkumar, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695014, India

 U. Sureshkumar is the DNA examiner in the same Centre.


S. George, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695014, India

Dr. Sanil George is the Scientist E1 with Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 



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