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Fish assemblages and habitat ecology of River Pinder in central Himalaya, India.

Abstract

Snow-fed River Pinder - a tributary of River Alaknanda in central Himalaya was explored for fish assemblages and habitat specificity. Altogether 27 fish species were reported from three orders, four families and nine genera. Cypriniformes order was dominating followed by Siluriformes and Salmoniformes. Shannon-Weiner diversity index (3.09 to 4.10) and Simpson index of diversity (0.81 to 0.92) of four sites specified strong relationship with species richness. The distribution of fish species showed interesting patterns, 33% species were common to all four sampling sites while 14.80% were restricted to single site and the remaining species were randomly distributed among two or three sampling sites. Habitat variability in the river significantly influenced the species assemblage structure. About 7.40% species were found common to all habitats while 3.70% species were restricted to only single habitat type. The remaining 88.90% of species were dwelling between two to three habitat types. Deep pools recorded maximum species richness followed by shallow pools, while least species richness was recorded in cascade habitats. The conservation status of fish fauna of the river was ascertained by CAMP (Conservation Assessment and Management Plan). Out of 27 species, the status of 8 species was not assessed due to data being deficient, 7 species were categorised as lower risk near threatened, 6 as vulnerable, 5 as endangered while 1 species was exotic.