Background & objectives: Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting several diseases, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, filariasis, and yellow fever, etc. Release of larvivorous fishes is one of the cheapest method of vector management approach, with long suppression of mosquito population. The present study identifies the native larvivorous fishes and evaluates their potential larvivoracity for biological control of mosquito larvae in an endemic malarious region.
Methods: During the year 2012-13, an ecological descriptive study was carried out in diverse aquatic habitats of fish species found in different areas of Ranchi district, in Jharkhand state of India. Fishes were captured using fishing nets, and identified and classified according to the available keys. Their larvivorous potential was graded according to their feeding potential. Data on current conservation status as well as their abundance were also recorded and analysed.
Results: In total, 30 larvivorous fish species belonging to seven orders, 10 families and 21 genera were identified. Order Cypriniformes and the family Cyprinidae were the most ascendant group constituting 66.7 and 60%, respectively. The grading assessment of larvivorous potential for different fish species revealed that, Colisa fasciatus possess maximum larvivoracity (+ + + + +). According to the conservation, assessment and management plan (CAMP, 1998), 60% species were at lower risk near threat (LRnt), while 86.7% species were at least concerned (LC) as per the IUCN, 2017 categorisation. All fish species preferred to inhabit in freshwater. Maximum species occurrence was found in the river (63.3%). Only 30% species were bottom feeders (BF).
Interpretation & conclusion: The larvivoracity and habitat distribution analysis indicated that C. fasciatus, Oreochromis mossambica, Esomus danricus, Oryzias melastigma, Puntius sophore, P. ticto, Rasbora daniconius, R. elegans, Aplocheilus panchax, and Danio (B) rerio possess high-level larvivorous potentiality in nature and are recommended for malaria control in the study area. There is an increasing pressure on the fish fauna, of facing several threats, such as fishing, human interference, loss of habitat, overexploitation, pollution, siltation, trade, and diseases. Therefore, periodic survey and monitoring of fish biodiversity, demarcation of breeding sites, field level research study on the efficacy of these fishes, and public awareness on establishment of larvivorous fish ponds should be adopted as a part of the vector management approach in the endemic malarious region of Ranchi district in Jharkhand, India.
Keywords: Biological control; Ranchi; larvivoracity; larvivorous fish; mosquito larvae.