On the reproductive biology of the invasive Armoured Sailfin Catfish Pterygoplicthys pardalis (Castelnau, 1855) (Siluriformes: Loricariidae) from the natural drainages in Thiruvananthapuram, India

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Smrithy Raj
Suvarna Devi
Amrutha Joy
A. Biju Kumar


The present paper deals with the breeding biology of the invasive fish Pterygoplicthys pardalis from the natural drainages of Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. The specimens were collected from Amayizhanchan Thodu, a natural drainage running through the heart of the city. A total of 145 males and 142 females were collected from January to December 2018. The sex ratio was determined monthly as the percentage of males to females (M: F). Monthly mean gonadosomatic index (GSI) values were compared using R stat, and GSI was plotted monthly to identify the spawning seasons. The gonads were examined and different stages of maturity were noted using standard methods. The length at first maturity was also found out. The fish exhibit courtship behaviour and the eggs are deposited in burrows and also along the crevices in the granite walls; the burrows are guarded by the male fish till the young ones are hatched out. The sex ratio showed an average mean value of 1.04: 1 and showed no significant departure. The size at first maturity was 23.9 cm standard length. The ova diameter studies show the presence of ripe ovaries throughout the year, with peaks during March and April and between August and September and in December, indicating the fish is a batch spawner. The absolute fecundity ranges from 923 to 14,777 eggs, and the relative fecundity ranges 0.0142–0.0015. Regression analysis showed a significant relationship (P <0.001) between absolute fecundity and the total length, the total body weight, and ovary weight. The strong breeding behaviour, the presence of accessory respiratory organs, the absence of natural enemies and parental care makes Pterygoplichthys pardalis a successful invader in the natural drainage. More biological studies are needed for the successful eradication of the species from the invaded ecosystem. 

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