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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4299.4.4

Channa pseudomarulius, a valid species of snakehead from the Western Ghats region of peninsular India (Teleostei: Channidae), with comments on Ophicephalus grandinosus, O. theophrasti and O. leucopunctatus

RALF BRITZ, ELEANOR ADAMSON, RAJEEV RAGHAVAN, ANVAR ALI, NEELESH DAHANUKAR

Abstract


An investigation integrating morphological and molecular data to address the taxonomic status of Indian Channa marulius-like fishes reveals the presence of two species within Indian Rivers. As a consequence, Channa pseudomarulius is resurrected as a valid species and removed from the synonymy of C. marulius. Channa pseudomarulius appears to be restricted to the southern Western Ghats region of peninsular India and can be distinguished from the more widespread C. marulius by fewer lateral-line scales, fewer dorsal- and anal-fin rays, fewer vertebrae, and by a difference of about 8% in mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene sequences. Channa marulius and C. pseudomarulius both possess low levels of genetic diversity across their range suggestive of small historical population sizes. This is especially interesting in the case of C. marulius, which is shown to have a large natural geographical range spanning at least the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Indo-Burman ranges in westernmost Myanmar. The synonymy of Channa marulius with Ophicephalus grandinosus, O. theophrasti, and O. leucopunctatus is confirmed based on examination of type specimens. A lectotype is designated for O. grandinosus.

 


Keywords


Pisces, CO1, DNA barcoding, Integrative taxonomy, Kerala, Morphometry

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ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa