A fish species in missing evolutionary link traced

These have special features; they can live on land and in water

CUDDALORE: A rare fish species called “mudskippers” have been recorded by researchers of the Centre for Advanced Study in Marine Biology of Annamalai University at Parangipettai estuary near here.

A rare fish species found in the Vellar estuary at Parangipettai in Cuddalore district

These tiny species, measuring just 67 mm in length and weighing 22 mg, have got special features which enable them to live both on land and in water. Called ‘vaetti uluvai’ in Tamil, they are the missing link between fishes and amphibians in the evolutionary ladder, according to T. Balasubramanian, Director of the Centre.

He told The Hindu that during the survey conducted recently in the Vellar estuary at Parangipettai near here under the University Grants Commission-supported project on gobiid fishes the researchers identified a mudskipper variety, Periophthalmus variabilis.

The Director said the species were aptly called mudskippers because they had mudflats as their habitat and had the habit of skipping or hopping around. The fish had got protruding rounded eyes that could move in all directions.

Its pectoral fins resembled more of the forelimbs of frogs, with which it attains mobility and climbs on to vegetations. Mr. Balasubramanian further said that the fish digs burrows in mudflats that have a gentle slope towards the sea and have a depth of up to one-and-half metre.

During high tide, the burrows would get filled with seawater and during low tide the waves would withdraw, allowing to make its appearance, he added.

Principal Investigator V.Ravi, also Assistant Professor in the Centre, said mudskippers played an important role in the food chain. They feed on fish eggs, nematodes, smaller crabs and insects, and, are, in turn, food for birds and otters. Mr. Ravi said mudskippers would lay eggs within the burrows and male fishes would oxygenate the eggs by blowing air. The eggs would not get washed away because they had an adhesive filament that made them stick to the walls of the burrows. This sensitive creature would swirl in the burrows at the very sight of a predator.

The mudskippers have medicinal quality and are being used as a remedy for anaemia and to prevent frequent urination in children.

Mr. Ravi observed that in China, South Korea and Japan the mudskippers were cultured extensively for food and the Centre would evolve a suitable strategy for its proliferation through captive breeding.

A.V. Ragunathan – From THE HINDU

Rs 1 crore for water supply works in Cuddalore

CUDDALORE: A sum of Rs. 1 crore has been sanctioned from the Natural Disaster Funds for undertaking works for improving water supply in panchayats, Town Panchayats and Municipalities in Cuddalore district, according to P.Seetharaman, Collector.

In a statement here on Saturday, the Collector has directed officials to complete the works within 45 days.


Aid for marine ornamental fish breeding

CUDDALORE: The Asian Development Bank has sanctioned a sum of Rs. 36.2 lakh for implementing the marine ornamental fish breeding scheme in four coastal villages of Cuddalore district, according to Collector P. Seetharaman.

In a statement released here, Mr. Seetharaman said that villages such as Velingirayanpettai, Periyakuppam, Parangipettai and Thammanampettai had been identified for the purpose.

A memorandum of understanding had been signed with the Annamalai University, Chidambaram, for imparting training.

At least 10 persons, either members of self-help groups or others, in each village would be selected for undergoing the training in marine ornamental fish breeding, Mr. Seetharaman said.

Fish lings would be obtained from the Marine Fisheries Research Centre located near Mandapam in Rameswaram district. People of these villages had come forward to donate either a building or a vacant site measuring 1,200 sq.ft., for conducting the training programme. Fish breeding would fetch a monthly income of Rs 5,000 per head, the Collector said.


Cuddalore: Integrated water supply scheme soon for three village

CUDDALORE: If there are places of worship, primary health centres and school buildings on the lands acquired by the Neyveli Lignite Corporationm the latter will be asked to rebuild those structures on alternative sites, according to P.Seetharaman, District Collector.

He was responding to the queries posed by the land providers in the Uyyakondaravi village near here at a Mass Contact Programme on Thursday.

The Collector said that the villagers demanded suitable compensation for the land, jobs for their wards and irrigation facility for the nearby farms.

The Collector promised them to take up these issues with the NLC management. He said that an integrated water supply scheme would be implemented soon to benefit Uyyakondaravi, Vadapaadhi and Seplanatham. He distributed assistance worth Rs 9.80 lakh to 131 beneficiaries on the occasion.

Bus services

At the mass contact programme held at Maiyanur near Villupuram, District Collector R.Palanisamy assured the people to improve bus services and explore the feasibility of setting up one more fair price shop there.


Fishes found dead along Cuddalore coastline

CUDDALORE: The six-km coastal stretch from Chithiraipettai to Rasapettai, near here, was found littered with dead fishes on Monday evening.

Sad sight: Dead fishes, swollen and deformed with rashes all over body, were washed ashore in Cuddalore on Tuesday. — Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Strong odour from the putrefying fishes prompted the Village Administrative Officer to alert the Fisheries Department and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The swollen and deformed fishes with rashes all over the body were found strewn along the coastline villages of Chithiraipettai, Sothikuppam, Nochikadu, Thammanampettai and Rasapettai.

T. Devanathan (50), a resident of Nochikadu, told this correspondent that such a mass of fishes washed ashore was an unusual sight. The fishes had their fins and skins peeled off and blotch of blood frozen on their body.

He identified the fish species as ‘keluthi’ (cat fish), ‘vanjiram,’ ‘paarai,’ ‘keechan’ ‘kanankathai’ and sea cat, with ‘keluthi’ having suffered the most.

General Secretary of the Consumer Federation Tamil Nadu M. Nizamudeen said that the dead fishes were seen on the shoreline between the common effluent treatment plant of the SIPCOT industrial estate and the jetty of a private chemical company. It was for the officials to conduct a proper enquiry and laboratory tests to take necessary remedial and punitive measures. District Environmental Engineer (TNPCB) D. Sekar, and Assistant Director of Fisheries R. Ilamparithi, who inspected the spot.

A.V.Ragunathan From THE HINDU