Identity of Hypselobarbus pulchellus (Day, 1870) - an addendum to Knight et al. (2013 a&b)


J.D. Marcus Knight 1, Ashwin Rai 2 & Ronald K.P. D’souza 3


1 Flat L’, Sri Balaji Apartments, 7th Main Road, Dhandeeswaram, Velachery, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600042, India

2 Department of Fisheries Microbiology, College of Fisheries, Yekkur, Mangalore, Karnataka 575002, India

3 Department of Applied Zoology, Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri, Mangalore, Karnataka 57419, India

1 (corresponding author), 2, 3




Date of publication: 26 February 2014 (online & print)

Manuscript Details: Ms # o3946 | Received 11 February 2014

Citation: Knight, J.D.M., A. Rai & R.K.P. D’souza (2014). Identity of Hypselobarbus pulchellus (Day, 1870) - an addendum to Knight et al. (2013 a&b). Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(2): 5512;

Copyright: © Knight et al. 2014. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.



For images -- click here



A few concerns were raised on identity of Hypselobarbus pulchellus that we had elucidated in our previous publications (Knight et al. 2013 a,b) by Basavaraja (2014).  Even though a reply was provided (Knight et al. 2014) to the queries raised by Basavaraja (2014), we feel it would add clarity if a few colour photographs are shown to elucidate the difference between H. pulchellus and H. dobsoni which have been considered as synonyms by Basavaraja (2014).

One of the main apprehensions raised by Basavaraja (2014) was regarding the lateral silvery band that is present in Hypselobarbus pulchellus.  He contested that the lateral band is present in H. dobsoni also.  It is here that we would like to provide the photographs as clarification (Image 1).  Large adults of the genus Hypselobarbus, including H. jerdoni, H. dobsoni and H. thomassi have dark pigmented abdominal scales highlighting the upper body as a silvery white band.  This should, however, not be confused with the clear band that runs along the body of H. pulchellus which is apparently clear in even small specimens of less than 100mm SL and visible in preserved specimens as well. Moreover, even though large specimens of H. jerdoni or H. dobsoni may have the faint silvery lateral band, they will also have clearly discernable black tips to the dorsal fin and caudal fin (Image 1A), which is always absent in H. pulchellus of all size range (Image 1 B).  This can be clearly seen in an image provided in ARKIVE ( where a large adult H. dobsoni is misidentified as H. pulchellus.  It is pertinent to note that the image in the link above clearly has black tips to the dorsal and caudal fins which are characters of H. dobsoni, and not H. pulchellus.

The genus Hypselobarbus has now been known to have a large range in the lateral line scales (Knight et al. 2013b; Ali et al. 2013).  In Knight et al. (2013b) H. pulchellus was reported from Sita and Tunga rivers with 32-34+1-2 lateral line pored scales.  Recently this species was also collected from Netravathi River, Karnataka, with a lateral line count of 32+1 pored scales, similar to the other populations found in Sita and Tunga rivers.  We propose to use the genetic approach to further elucidate the significance of the large range in the lateral line scale count that is seen in this species.




Ali, A., S. Philip, N. Dahanukar, C.R. Renjithkumar, A. Bijukumar & R. Raghavan (2013). Distribution, threats and conservation status of Hypselobarbus thomassi (Day, 1874), a poorly known cyprinid fish of the Western Ghats freshwater ecoregion. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(17): 5202–5213;  

Basavaraja, N. (2014). Comments on Hypselobarbus pulchellus part of the articles by Knight et al. (2013a,b) published in JoTT. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(1): 5417–5418; 

Knight, J.D.M., A. Rai & R.K.P. D’souza (2013a). Re-description of Hypselobarbus lithopidos (Teleostei: Cyprinidae), based on its rediscovery from the Western Ghats, India, with notes on H. thomassi. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(13): 4734–4742; 

Knight, J.D.M., A. Rai & R.K.P. D’souza (2013b). Rediscovery of Hypselobarbus pulchellus, an endemic and threatened barb (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) of the Western Ghats, with notes on H. dobsoni and H. jerdoni. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5(17): 5194–5201; 

Knight, J.D.M., A. Rai & R.K.P. D’souza (2014). Reply to the response given by N. Basavaraja to Knight et al. 2013a&b. Journal of Threatened Taxa 6(1): 5419–5420;