Endemic fish gets Lankan-flavoured name

By Malaka Rodrigo

The popular edible fish known to local fishermen as "modha" or "koduwa", and recently declared endemic to Sri Lanka, has been given a scientific name with a local flavour - Lates lakdiva.

In an article that appeared last week in the scientific journal Zootaxa, Sri Lankan scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda has established that the koduwa is a marine species, not a freshwater fish, and that it is unique to Sri Lanka. The Lankan sea bass was earlier thought to be the same species, Lates calcarifer, found in waters across Asia and all the way to northeast Australia.

Unlike the Lates calcarifer, which live in freshwater rivers and descend to estuaries to breed, the Sri Lanka koduwa or sea bass live in coastal waters and breed in estuaries.

"This was pointed out to me in the early 1990s by the naturalist Cedric Martensteyn," the Sydney-based Mr. Pethiyagoda says. "I put the Sri Lankan and the Australian specimens side by side to see if they were the same."

In the article, Mr. Pethiyagoda and fellow scientist Tony Gill demonstrate that the Sri Lankan koduwa is not Lates calcarifer but a different species. Because the fish was discovered in Lankan waters, the researchers have named the koduwa Lates lakdiva.

The Sri Lankan fish is smaller and more slender than its larger, more widely distributed cousin, and there are other anatomical differences. Koduwa figures prominently on restaurant menus in Sri Lanka. Diners prize it for its succulent white flesh, and anglers seek it in fishing spots such as Bolgoda Lake and the Madu Ganga.

Lates calcarifer is known in Australia as barramundi and is the country's most popular freshwater fish. The Australian fish can reach a weight of over 40 kgs and sell for Rs. 4,000 a kilo. The Sri Lankan fish is much smaller. A five-kilo koduwa would be considered big.

The research paper also described another species of barramundi found in Myanmar. Researchers named it Lates uwisara, in honour of Ven. U Wisara, the Buddhist monk who gave his life in the struggle for Myanmar's independence from colonial rule.

Top to the page  |  E-mail  |  views[1]
SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend
Other News Articles
War-displaced landowners can claim property
No US concessions yet, despite slash in oil imports from Iran
Star hotel near BIA, China frontrunner
New laws to freeze assets of al-Qaeda, Taliban supporters
IMF team coming as money markets are shaken
Defence Ministry, Central Bank warned of Flame attack
Get your silver jubilee souvenir
State fertilizer imports tainted by tender manipulations say suppliers
Superiority is determined by actions, not by divine right, says President
Fowzie to protest CID collecting info from Muslim Affairs Dept.
CID team goes to China to assist in website hacking probe
Unseaworthy ‘Lanka Mahapola’ for scrapyard while SL crew awaits wages
Dust mites on cell phones – Not to worry
The humble ‘J’ in the Wijeya wheel
Hidden enemies of a green economy
Body identified: Bodyguard of Tiger political wing man
Endemic fish gets Lankan-flavoured name
Accident waiting to happen on railway bridge
Beware of a blend of dengue and viral fever: Health authorities
Special trains to A’pura for Poson Poya
Beruwala PHIs raid eateries for unhygienic food handling
Tremors trigger quake awareness sessions
Red light for salt and sugar
One death every four seconds worldwide by 2030: Top health official
Too many cars can cause city paralysis
Three-wheeler drivers as part-time sub agents a threat: ALFEA
Ekneligoda disappearance: Former AG to give evidence
Child protection authorities in quandary over convicted monk’s Gampaha orphanage
More licences to be issued if gold finds increase: GSMB
IGP issues rules regarding lawyers representing suspects at police stations
SLT engineers intensify work-to- rule campaign paralysing technical maintenance
Stopped: Another chapter in human smuggling saga
Illegal sand mining rises after Govt. relaxes transport laws
‘Aloka Pooja’ at Thanthtrimale Temple for ninth consecutive year
Don’t kill the harbingers of peace
The diamond jubilee: A time to celebrate our diversity
The days when Jaffna Youth Congress spearheaded Lankan nationalism


Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and a link to the source page.
© Copyright 1996 - 2012 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved | Site best viewed in IE ver 8.0 @ 1024 x 768 resolution