IMPHAL, March 26 - The smallest fish in the world � Paedocypris progenetica � that lives in the forest swamps of Indonesia�s Sumatra may possibly face extinction in view of the continuous disturbance at its habitat.
Dr Maurice Kottlat, aquatic biodiversity specialist from Switzerland, who discovered the smallest fish, together with Dr Tan Heok Hui of Singapore some 10 years ago, told this Correspondent during a brief a chat in Imphal recently.
This tiny fish is not only the world�s smallest fish, but it is also the smallest vertebrate which measures a mere 0.31 inch in length. All fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals (including humans) are vertebrates.
The said fish has a see-through body and at first glance looks like larvae. It lives in water that is 100 times more acidic than rainwater with a pH of 3. The fish is a member of the carp family, and has oddly-made fins that are capable of grasping.
�The habitat of the fish will be gone if the human pressure continues (in the said area),� said Dr Maurice Kottlat, the author of Freshwater Biodiversity in Asia. �The fish which was endemic to Sumatra, lives in the highly acidic black water peat swamps.�
Fifty nine-year-old Dr Maurice, a Swiss ichthyologist specialised on Eurasian freshwater fishes, also interacted with the life science teachers, researchers and students of the Manipur University during his recent maiden visit to the State.
Besides, scientific publications on the material obtained as by-product of his consultancies, the aquatic biodiversity specialist has 29 years of extensive field research, especially in Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Mongolia and Greece.
He said that he found the difference opinion among the researchers and government agencies when the issue of conservation and development issues comes up. During his interaction, Dr Maurice shared his yearlong freshwater research experience in the of South Asian countries such as Laos.
However, Dr Maurice, whose main field of expertise is the taxonomy of freshwater fishes of Eurasia, also appreciated the ongoing research activities in identifying the new fish species under Manipur University. Earlier, the people used to conduct certain research works without comprehensive activities in taxonomy sector, the branch of science that encompasses the description, identification, nomenclature, and classification of organisms, in identifying the new species.