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Channa kelaartii, a valid species of dwarf snakehead from Sri Lanka and southern peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae)

Title: Channa kelaartii, a valid species of dwarf snakehead from Sri Lanka and southern peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae)

Creators: Hiranya Sudasinghe, Rohan Pethiyagoda, Madhava Meegaskumbura, Kalana Maduwage, Ralf Britz

Submitted March 15, 2020.
Accepted April 14, 2020.
Published online at www.senckenberg.de/vertebrate-zoology on April 29, 2020.
Published in print Q2/2020.

DOI: 10.26049/VZ70-2-2020-05
PDF/A 5.3MB

Published by Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung

Date (Publication Year): 2020

Resource Type (General): TEXT

Resource Type (optional): Vertebrate Zoology, Scientific Article

Description (en): The dwarf snakehead Channa gachua (Hamilton, 1822) (type locality Bengal) has been reported from a vast range, from Iran to Taiwan, and northern India to Sri Lanka. Here, adopting an integrative taxonomic approach, we show that the Sri Lankan snakehead previously referred to as C. gachua is in fact a distinct species, for which the name C. kelaartii (Günther, 1861) is available. Widely distributed in streams and ponds throughout Sri Lanka’s lowlands, and also recorded here from the east-flowing drainages of southern peninsular India, C. kelaartii is distinguished from all the other species of the C. gachua species group by the combination of head shape, dorsal- and anal-fin ray counts, scale counts, the presence of pelvic fins, and live adult coloration. Further, C. kelaartii is genetically distinct from topotypical C. gachua by an uncorrected pairwise distance of 7.9 – 8.8 % for the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) gene.

Key words: Channa gachua, integrative taxonomy, DNA barcoding, biogeography, Western Ghats-Sri Lanka biodiversity hotspot.

Citation: Sudasinghe, H., Pethiyagoda, R., Meegaskumbura, M., Maduwage, K., Britz, R. (2020). Channa kelaartii, a valid species of dwarf snakehead from Sri Lanka and southern peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae). Vertebrate Zoology, 70(2): 157-170. https://doi.org/10.26049/VZ70-2-2020-05