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Species composition and abundance of fishes with seasonal fluctuations of rainfall and water level in Vavuniya reservoir, Sri Lanka

Author Affiliations

  • 1Department of Bio-Science, Faculty of Applied Science, Vavuniya Campus, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka
  • 2Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Science, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka
  • 3Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Int. Res. J. Environment Sci., Volume 6, Issue (6), Pages 12-21, June,22 (2017)


Dramatic loss of freshwater fish bio-diversity and survival of un-described local inland fish species in Sri Lanka justifies the requirement of systemic surveys. Extreme hydro-climatic events and its consequent shifts in seasonality lead to water scarcity in dry zone aquatic resources such as Vavuniya reservoir, threatening fish species richness and abundance. Weekly filed surveys were made to collect biological, ecological and hydro-climatic data from January, 2013 to July, 2014. Fish species composition and abundance in the catch were estimated by using random sampling at the landing site. Clarias brachysoma, Esomus thermoicos and Labeo lankae were the endemic freshwater fish species identified along with 16 indigenous and 8 exotic species. A significantly higher abundance of indigenous species was found in July and August 2013. During these periods, higher rainfall was observed but water level receded to medium level. Peak abundance of Channa striata (July & August 2013 and March & July 2014), Puntius dorsalis (August 2013 and July 2014) and P. sarana (August, 2013) were observed during these periods. Higher catches of Labeo dussumieri was observed in October - December 2013 and June 2014. Mystus keletius and Heteropneustes fossilis showed higher abundance during July - November 2013. However, M. keletius catch was higher in March and June and H. fossilis, in January, 2014. Glossogobius giuris showed a higher abundance during August 2013 and January 2014. Higher abundance was observed with the onset of rainfall and with lower water level. Fish species composition and abundance were significantly different (p=.02) for each month of the year 2013 and 2014 with respect to monthly total rainfall and monthly mean water level. Hence, the seasonal changes in the hydro-climatic factors play a significant role in fish species composition and abundance in tropical reservoirs.


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