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Table of Contents
RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 165-174

Diversity of native larvivorous fish fauna during pre- and post-tsunami in Car Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India


1 ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, Field Unit, ITKI, Ranchi-835301, Jharkhand, India
2 GB Panth Hospital, Port Blair-744104, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India

Date of Submission13-Jul-2019
Date of Acceptance10-Feb-2020
Date of Web Publication13-Jan-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr Manoj Kumar Das
ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, Field Unit, ITKI, Ranchi-835301, Jharkhand
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-9062.318317

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  Abstract 

Background & objectives: Malaria is a serious public health problem in Car Nicobar Island, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India. Using larvivorous fishes has proved to be the cheapest method for vector management approach, with long suppression of mosquito population. This study aims to scale-up the diversity of larvivorous fishes and their potential larvivoracity to evolve an appropriate biological intervention strategy against the immature stages of malaria vectors.
Methods: During 2003 (pre-tsunami) and 2014–2016 (post-tsunami), an ecological descriptive survey was carried out in the water bodies around Car Nicobar Island. Fishes were captured using fishing nets and cast nets; and placed in plastic jars and preserved in formalin solution. Fishes were identified and classified according to the available keys. Their abundance and data on the current conservation status was recorded and analyzed. Their potential larvivoracity was graded according to their feeding intensity.
Results: Pre-tsunami, a total of 27 larvivorous fish species belonging to 11 orders, 23 families and 23 genera were identified. Order Perciformes and the family Cyprinidae were the most ascendant group constituting 51.9 and 11.1%, respectively. While, 80.8% of species were preferred to inhabit the freshwater region, only 37% of species were surface feeders (SF). According to the conservation, assessment and management plan (CAMP, 1998), 44.4% species were at lower risk least concern (LRlc), while 55.6% species were at least concerned (LC) as per the IUCN, 2017 categorization. However, after the tsunami, 17 fish species had gone extinct and 10 fish species were found to remain alive in the local water bodies.
Interpretation & conclusion: Post-tsunami, the larvivoracity analysis indicated that Ophiocara aporos, Ophiocara procephala, Valamugil seheli, Channa punctata, Kuhlia rupestris, Khulia mugil, and Terapon jarbua possess high-level larvivorous potentiality in nature and are recommended for vector control in the study area. These fish species were facing several anthropogenic threats, such as human interference, loss of habitat, trade, overexploitation, and fishing. Therefore, it is important to protect the water bodies from external impact and implement the conservation strategies. Further, periodic fish fauna surveys, identification of breeding sites, scale-up of the larvivorous potentiality at the field level, creating public awareness through health education on establishment of larvivorous fish ponds and planning for mass rearing of the native fish species should be adopted as part of vector management approach in the endemic malarious region of Car Nicobar Island.

Keywords: Larvivorous fish; Biological control; Mosquito larvae; Potential; Tsunami; Car Nicobar


How to cite this article:
Das MK, Rao M R, Singh S S. Diversity of native larvivorous fish fauna during pre- and post-tsunami in Car Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India. J Vector Borne Dis 2021;58:165-74

How to cite this URL:
Das MK, Rao M R, Singh S S. Diversity of native larvivorous fish fauna during pre- and post-tsunami in Car Nicobar, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, India. J Vector Borne Dis [serial online] 2021 [cited 2022 Jan 26];58:165-74. Available from: https://www.jvbd.org/text.asp?2021/58/2/165/318317

Manoj Kumar Das, M. Rajesh Kumar Rao. Equal contribution



  Introduction Top


Malaria is one of the most expeditiously spreading mosquito-borne infections in the present scenario and causes high morbidity and mortality in tropical and subtropical areas throughout the world[1]. The Andaman and Nicobar (A & N) group of Islands are located in the Bay of Bengal between 6° 45′-13°41′N and 92° 12′-93°57′E approximately in a North-South direction. Car Nicobar Island (Indian Territory) falls in between the Andaman and Nancowry Islands has been endemic for malaria, posing a major health problem during the past six decades[2]. The climatic conditions, geographical location, population mobility, housing pattern and socioeconomic status are favorable for transmission of malaria in Car Nicobar Island[3]. The island is having a fragile ecosystem contributed by the coral reef, mongroove, and seaweed beds. Anopheles sundaicus, the main mosquito vector for transmitting of malaria parasitic infection, breeds in brackish water bodies in these provinces[4],[5]. The fish fauna of A & N Islands consists of an assemblage of about 1450 species spread over all the diverse habitats representing 586 genera belonging to 175 families. A glossary survey of literature revealed, there is no record of the fish fauna of Car Nicobar Island. Therefore, the fish fauna survey was carried out in Car Nicobar Island with an aim to find out the native larvivorous fishes and to evaluate their larvivoracity for biological control of mosquito larvae in malaria-endemic area of Car Nicobar Island, A & N Islands, India.

On 26 December 2004, the vertical displacement of the seafloor occurred across the A & N Islands resulting in the widespread devastating tsunami formed waves invading the inhabited coastal areas and slammed into the surrounding landmasses that 647,599 people left homeless, 5,640 missing and 10,749 were dead[6]. After the tsunami hit, some smaller Islands in Car Nicobar had changed their geographical shape of the land and few had vanished into the sea. Seasonal rains diluted the saltwater accumulated in the inundated areas into brackish water, which created additional suitable breeding habitats for proliferating of Anopheles sundaicus mosquito species. Anopheles sundaicus is predominantly endophytic, esophagus and zoophagic behavior[7]. Thus, the aftermath of the environmental disturbance of the tsunami disaster had created a great challenge for public health experts to prevent widespread epidemics of malaria.

Vector control is the most successful intervention as a part of the global as well as the regional malaria control strategy for controlling the mosquito populations to reduce the incidence of malaria[8]. Due to the complex feeding behavior of An. sundaicus, integrated vector management (IVM) advocated by WHO comprising three basic methods (i) personal protection methods, (ii) chemical control (larvicides and adulticides) and (iii) bioenvironmental control have been adopted to interrupt malaria transmission in Car Nicobar Island[9]. However, use of the chemical in the form of various insecticides against the malaria vectors was resulting in failure of vector control methods in several regions around the world due to their adverse effects on mosquitoes as well as on the non-target populations and the environment, and also the development of insecticide resistance in mosquitoes[10]. Further, the chemical control approach for vector control is a time-consuming and expensive enterprise[11]. The control of adult mosquito species alongside human habitation is not a prudent approach because they can easily escape from the measures that have been undertaken in the vector control strategy[12]. Based on the rigorous evaluation, larval control was the primary and best potential approach in vector control intervention[13]. Thus, the biological control strategy against mosquitoes involves introduce of their natural enemies like parasites, disease organisms, and predatory animals into the environment has played a positive and important role in malaria control programs all over the world[14]. Using larvivorous fish in natural and artificial habitats all over the world, including India since the early 1900s, as an agent for biological control of mosquito populations at their immature stages is a safe, eco-friendly, and cost-effectiveness approach[15]. During the 20th century, the strategy of using larvivorous fish for mosquito control in India had declined[16]. In recent years, a few studies on native larvivorous fish had been undertaken in various regions of India to scale up a suitable agent used for biological control of the mosquito at their immature stages with no change in the aquatic ecosystem evading the use of chemicals in vector control strategy[11],[16],[17]. Native larvivorous fishes have been residing in the same aquatic habitat as larval mosquitoes and there is no need to create an artificial larval controlling habitat; therefore, using larvivorous fishes becomes a popular biological control agent for reducing mosquito larval populations in the present scenario. A systematic study reports on larvivorous fish fauna for mosquito control from the Car Nicobar Islands, yet not been published.

Therefore, this study presents a brief and first report on the diversity of native larvivorous fish during pre-and post-Tsunami, which holds the potential for use as a sustainable, cheap, safe, and eco-friendly suitable agent for biological control of mosquito larvae in the malarious area of Car Nicobar Island.


  Material & Methods Top


Study area

Car Nicobar, a small flat coral island found in the eastern Indian Ocean, lies between 9° 10′ 12″ N latitudes and 92° 46′ 48″ E longitudes. Its elevation from sea level is 30 feet. The climatic condition of Car Nicobar Island is tropical, with the temperature ranges between 18.0° – 34.0° C, and humidity 79%. The Island receives Southwest (May to October) and Northeast (November to April) monsoons. Southwest monsoon is the main rainy season. Annual rainfall varies from 2500 to 4000 mm. The dry season ranges from January to April. Car Nicobar is a flat fertile island covered with coconut palms and natural fauna and flora. The total geographic area of the island is 126.9 sq. km. [Figure 1]. The inhabitants of these islands are Nicobarese of Mongoloid origin. There are seven creeks, mostly on its northern coast and vast marshy areas on its eastern coast. Creeks, marshy areas, streams, and wells are the perennial mosquito breeding sources. In addition to these, ponds, ornamental tanks and cement tanks also support mosquito breeding. An. sundaicus is the vector of malaria in Car Nicobar Island. Bioenvironmental method of malaria vector control was implemented on the island.
Figure 1: Map of Andaman & Andaman & Nicobar Island showing the fish fauna survey site on Car Nicobar Island (Creeks, steams, ponds, marshy areas and mangrove: sites for fish fauna survey) (Source: Outlookindia.com, biodiversityinternational.org)

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Study period

To accomplish the aims of the research, an ecological descriptive study was carried out in the aquatic habitats for fish species living in different areas of the Car Nicobar Island, during the year 2003 (pre-tsunami) and 2013 to 2016 (post-tsunami).

Methodology

Systematic sampling for fish species was carried out at regular intervals in different water bodies with fishing and cast nets. Ecological notes of the aquatic habitats of fish species and abundance of different fishes were recorded from direct observations and current conservation status of these fish species were collected from the report on the Conservation, Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) workshop on freshwater fishes of India, and IUCN Red List Category of Threatened Species[18],[19]. The collected fish specimens were measured to standard length. Fish specimens have been placed in wide-mouth plastic jars with screw-on lids and preserved in formalin solution (Concentration % of the solution was used according to their size). Identification and classification of the fish specimens were carried out on the lines of Jayaram; and Talwar and Jhingran[20],[21]. The larvivorous potential for fish species was evaluated in the laboratory for five consecutive days based on the fish that eat mosquito larvae of the Anopheles sundaicus mosquito population and graded according to their feeding potential (Consumption of larvae/day: 1 – 24 = +; 25 – 49 = + +; 50 – 74 = + + +; 75 – 99 = + + + +; 100 or more = + + + + +). An. sundaicus larvae were collected from laboratory colony of An. sundaicus maintained at National Institute of Malaria Research (NIMR), Field unit, Car Nicobar, A & N Islands[37].

Ethical statement

No ethical issues are involved in this study.


  Results Top


The conservation status and threats to the larvivorous fish species caught from different water bodies during pre and post-tsunami in the study area are presented in [Table 1], [Table 2], and [Figure 2]. The results revealed the presence of 27 larvivorous fish species belonging to 11 orders, 23 families, and 23 genera. Out of the total species, order Perciformes was the most ascendant group constituting 51.9%, followed by Cypriniformes with 11.1%. Order Perciformes comprised of 13 families with 14 species of fish, followed by Cypriniformes which included one family with three fish species and Cyprinodontiformes comprised of two families with two fish species; and Anguilliformes, Beloniformes, Elopiformes, Gobiidae, Gobiiformes, Mugiliformes, Syngnathiformes, and Tetraodontiformes, each (family) with one fish species. Out of 23 families recorded, Cyprinidae with three species contributed 11.1% to the total species followed by Eleotridae and Kuhliidae each with two species contributing about 7.4%; and Ambassidae, Anabantidae, Anguillidae, Aplocheilidae, Apogonidae, Channidae, Cichlidae, Gobies, Gobiidae, Gobiiformes, Megalopidae, Monodactylidae, Mugilidae, Poeciliidae, Pomacentridae, Sphyraenidae, and Syngnathidae each with one fish species contributing about 3.7%.
Figure 2: 27 larvivorous fish species were scaled-up during pre-tsunami in Car Nicobar Island, India.

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Table 1: Conservation status and threats of the larvivorous fish species along with their taxonomy scaled-up during pre and post-tsunami in Car Nicobar Island, India

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Table 2: Species composition of fishes in the study area

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Of the total species, 14 (55.6%) species are least concern (LC), 7 (25.9%) species are not evaluated (NE), 3 (11.1%) species have data deficient (DD), 1 (3.7%) species is near threatened (NT), and for one species (3.7%) is vulnerable (VU) as per the IUCN (2017) red list of threatened species. According to the report on the CAMP workshop on freshwater fishes of India, 12 (44.4%) species are at lower risk least concern (LRlc), 9 (33.3%) species are at lower risk near threatened (LRnt), 2 (7.4%) species are vulnerable (VU), 2 (7.4%) species have data deficient (DD), 1 (3.7%) species is not evaluated (NE) and for one species (3.7%) has Critically Endangered (CR).

The diversity, abundance and larvivorous potential for different fish species are presented in [Table 3]. The results revealed that 59.3% (16) species are native, 40.7% (11) species are exotic and 22.2% (6) species are considered endemic. Of the 27 species collected, 22.2% (6) species – Catla catla (Ham.), Gambusia affinis, Oreochromis mossambica, Valamugil seheli, Ophiocara procephala, and Ophiocara aporos were most abundant; 33.3% (9) species – Acentrogobius viridipunctatus, Kuhlia rupestris, Anguilla spp Anabas testudinous, Channa punctata, Cyprinus carpio, Khulia mugil, Megalops cyprinoides, and Periophthalmus malaccensis were moderately abundant; 29.6% (8) species – Apolocheilus panchax, Terapon jarbua, Tetraodon cutcutia, Ambassis interrupta, Cirrhinus mrigala, Syngnathus spicifer, Zenarchoptenus boffonis, and Acentrogobius viridipunctatus were less abundant; and 14.8% (4) species – Redigobius oyensi, Sphyraena obtusata, Monodactylus argenteus, and Pomacentrus lividus were rarely available in the study area. 80.8% (21) larvivorous fishes recorded preferred to inhabit fresh-water; however, 65.4% (17) species were recorded from both freshwater and brackish water regions. Laboratory evaluation of larvivorous potential status of these 27 fish species revealed that Gambusia affinis possessed highest predatory potential towards mosquito larvae (+ + + + +), followed by Apolocheilus panchax, Megalops cyprinoides, Ophiocara aporos, Ophiocara procephala, and Oreochromis mossambica (+ + + +). Least potential status was seen in Redigobius oyensi, Sphyraena obtusata, and Zenarchoptenus boffonis (+).
Table 3: Habitat diversity, abundance, and potential status of the larvivorous fish species scaled-up before tsunami in Car Nicobar Island, India

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[Figure 3] shows the different types of threats to fish population along with their habitats. Major threat (55.6%) observed was human interference (Hi), followed by loss of habitat (Lh) (37%), fishing (F) (29.6%), trade (T) (22.2%), overexploitation (Oe) (14.8%), siltation (Sn) (11.1%), pollution (Pu) (7.4%) and diseases (D) (3.7%). The feeding habits of the studied fish species indicated that 37% species were surface feeders (SF), 33.3% were bottom feeders (BF), 14.8% were column feeder (CF), 14.8% were bottom column feeder (BCF), 55.6% were omnivore (O), 33.3% were carnivore (C), 3.7% were detritivores (D), 3.7% were herbivore (H) and 3.7% were Zooplankton (Z) in nature [Figure 4].
Figure 3: Percent occurrence of the threats to fish population along with their habitats.

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Figure 4: Percent occurrence of the fish species in accordance to their tropic niches and food habits.

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Post-tsunami, the fish fauna survey was reassessed, and the result revealed that several larvivorous fish species had gone extinct (washed away). Of the 27 larvivorous fish species recorded pre-tsunami, only 10 species—Anguilla spp, Ophiocara aporos, Ophiocara procephala, Terapon jarbua, Tetradon cutcutia, Khulia mugil, Khulia rupestris, Channa punctata, Syngnathus spicifer, and Valamugil seheli were recorded post-tsunami in Car Nicobar Island.


  Discussion Top


The fish fauna of Car Nicobar Island is somewhat not disturbed due to low habitat diversity and long isolation from the mainland. It is possible that several undiscovered species living in the streams, creeks, and ponds of this island particularly in the tribal reserve areas are inaccessible.

Scaling-up diversity of native larvivorous fish, an agent for biological control of mosquito larvae, in the malarious area is an urgent need for public health importance[22]. The tropical climate and increased salinity of inland water in Car Nicobar Island is a conducive environment for breeding of Anopheles sundaicus mosquito favoring transmission of malaria in these islands[6],[23],[24]. Information on the diversity of larvivorous fishes and their larvivorous potentiality during the periods before and after the tsunami to demonstrate the use of larvivorous fish as part of an integrated vector control strategy for the control of malaria is important. However, 2004 tsunami had the largest impact in Car Nicobar Island, where study reports on larvivorous fish fauna as part of the vector management approach was scarce before the tsunami. The geological and environmental changes happened because of the tsunami influx which has further complicated the malaria situation[25]. This study was undertaken in the water bodies including stream and creeks in and around the Car Nicobar Island and has presented the first ever documentation of larvivorous fish fauna during pre-and post-tsunami for biological control of mosquito immature in the present study area.

Our study showed the presence of 27 larvivorous fish species in the study area before the tsunami belonging to 11 orders, 23 families, and 23 genera. Order Perciformes was found to be the most ascendant group of 11 orders. Findings of the present study are similar to the reports of the earlier studies carried out by Nelson[26] and Freihofer et al[27]. Family Cyprinidae was found to be the most ascendant family among other 22 families. Findings of the present study are similar to the report of the earlier study carried out by Das et al[11]. Most of the fish species reported in the study area preferred to inhabit the freshwater region. It might be because of the biotas on islands have high levels of endemism and lower levels of diversity than those on mainland ecosystems as suggested by Osborne[28]. We observed that many of the native and exotic species are threatened because of human interference (Hi) followed by loss of habitat (Lh), trade (T), overexploitation (Oe) and fishing (F) in the different ecosystem of Car Nicobar Island. The findings of the present study are in agreement with previous studies carried out in different ecosystems by Das et al[11]; Richter et al[29]; Palavai and Davidar[30]; and Ward et al[31].

In this study, based on the information of the CAMP workshop 1999 on freshwater fishes of India, 12 fish species viz. Zenarchopterus buffonis, Ophiocara aporos, Ambassis interrupta, Apogon Channa, punctata hylosoma, Kuhlia rupestris, Khulia mugil, Monodactylus argenteus, Sphyraena obtusata, Terapon jarbua, Syngnathus spicifer, and Tetraodon cutcutia were located at lower risk least concern (LRlc) because they do not qualify as threatened, near threatened, or conservation dependent. However, nine fish species, viz., Cirrhinus mrigala, Gambusia affinis, Megalops cyprinoides, Acentrogobius viridipunctatus, Valamugil seheli, Ophiocara procephala, Periophthalmus malaccensis, Redigobius oyensi, and Pomacentrus lividus were located at lower risk near threatened (LRnt) because of the negative effects of above-reported threats. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN-2017), we observed the highest percentage of fish species were occupied by the Least Concern (LC) category (55.6%) followed by Not Evaluated (NE) category (25.9%) and Data Deficient (DD) category (11.1%). Only 7.41% of the total fish species was found the Vulnerable (VU) and Near Threatened (NT) category. The findings of present study are in agreement with the findings of previous studies carried out in Bangladesh by Gain et al.[32] and Joadder et al.[33]. These informations will help in understanding the threat level and conservation categorization of freshwater fishes formulating species-specific conservation plan for saving invaluable freshwater fish resources.

In the present study, based on their dietary habits we observed that 55.6% of fish species were predominantly omnivore in nature followed by carnivores (33.3%); which reveal a conspicuous sign of the propriety of the habitat for larvivoracity of the fish. Based on the trophic niches, we divided fish species into four categories: (1) Surface feeders (SF), (2) Bottom feeders (BF), (3) Column feeders (CF), and (4) Bottom column feeders (BCF). The highest percentage of fish species exists in the ecosystem as the surface feeders (37%) followed by bottom feeders (33.3%), column feeders (14.8%) and bottom column feeders. Column feeders and bottom column feeders are mainly omnivorous or carnivorous, while surface feeders and bottom feeders can be omnivorous, carnivorous, herbivore, detritivorous or zooplankton. The findings of the present study are in agreement with the findings of previous studies carried out in Uttar Pradesh, India by Das and Moitra[34].

In our study, we classified the potential larvivorous fish species based on their larval feeding intensity in a laboratory-based trial. Gambusia affinis followed by Apolocheilus panchax, Megalops cyprinoides, Ophiocara procephala, Ophiocara aporos, Oreochromis mossambica, Acentrogobius viridipunctatus, Anabas testudinous, Cirrhinus mrigala, Channa punctata, Kuhlia rupestris, Khulia mugil, Terapon jarbua, and Valamugil seheli were showing a high-level of larvivorous potentiality. These 14 fish species have been utilized for malaria mosquito larval population control in the study area. Findings of the present study have been confirmed in the laboratory-based trials carried out in different ecosystems by Das et al.[11] and Yadav et al.[35], which showed that Gambusia affinis, Apolocheilus panchax, and Oreochromis mossambica had possessed high significant larvivorous potentiality against the mosquito larval population. The highest percentage of fish species that exist in the ecosystem as the bottom feeders followed by surface feeders, column feeders, and bottom column feeders showed the high-level of mosquito larval consumption. The findings of the present study disagree with Ekanayaker et al.[36] that the bottom feeder fish species has the lowest opportunity to catch the mosquito larvae and had shown a negligible larvivorous potential because swimming movements of fish disturb the settled mosquito larvae.

Post-tsunami, this study observed that 17 larvivorous fish species – Acentrogobius viridipunctatus, Ambassis interrupta, Anabas testudinous, Apogan hylosoma, Apolocheilus panchax, Catla catla (Ham.), Cirrhinus mrigala, Cyprinus carpio, Gambusia affinis, Megalops cyprinoides,Monodactylus argenteus, Oreochromis mossambica, Periophthalmus malaccensis, Pomacentrus lividus, Redigobius oyensi, Sphyraena obtusata, and Zenarchoptenus boffonis belonging to the category of surface feeder, had gone extinct from the study area. This may be because the surface feeder fish species are an aquatic animal that regularly visits and preferred to feed on or near the surface of the body of water and the widespread devastating tsunami waves entered into the coastal areas of Car Nicobar Islands during the tsunami on 26 December 2004, had swept away the surface feeder fish species from the water bodies into the ocean. However, 10 larvivorous fish species – Anguilla spp, Ophiocara aporos, Ophiocara procephala, Terapon jarbua, Tetradon cutcutia, Khulia mugil, Khulia rupestris, Channa punctata, Syngnathus spicifer, and Valamugil seheli were available in different water bodies in Car Nicobar Islands, which might be because of their tolerance to a wide range of environmental conditions as suggested by Das et al.[11].

We observed that fish fauna of Car Nicobar Island is threatened due to introduction of exotic species like Oreochromis mossambica. This is a hardy species with high reproductive activity and adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions which can disturb native fishes through competition for space and food. The freshwater fauna diversity was found to be much less compared to creeks, streams, mangroves, and estuaries. The major fish species living in the freshwater streams are Ophiocara aporos and Redigobius oyensi.

At Car Nicobar Island, the kimus creek is 1200 hectares, 8 km long and 1.5 km wide. The creek and the brackish water habitats are subject to wide fluctuation of salinity due to influence of the tide. The presence of mangroves at kimus creek has made it highly productive for its high diversity of fish fauna. The creeks continue to be breeding and nursery grounds for juveniles of fish. It is accepted that mangrove areas act as nursery for fishes in the tropical and temperate region[23].


  Conclusion Top


Post-tsunami, there was a deterioration of larvivorous fish species so much so that 17 species had gone extinct from Car Nicobar Islands. At present, 10 larvivorous fish species were found alive in the local water bodies of Car Nicobar Island. Of these, three fish species, namely Ophiocara procephala, Ophiocara aporos, and Valamugil seheli were abundant, while Channa punctata, Kuhlia rupestris, Khulia mugil and Terapon jarbua found relatively in good numbers have shown high-level of larvivorous potential.

These six larvivorous fish species have been playing a significant role in controlling mosquito breeding and could be used as a native biological agent in the integrated mosquito control programs. Using the native biological agents, including of larvivorous fish species would be an appropriate alternative solution of the chemical control strategy in mosquito vector control reducing the risk of insecticide resistance. However, anthropogenic activities such as human interference, loss of habitat, overexploitation, and fishing are causing the threat to many of the native and exotic species in the different ecosystem of Car Nicobar Island.

Therefore, it is important to protect the water bodies including stream and creeks from external impact and implementing the conservation strategies against these anthropogenic activities to protect the larvivorous fish species and their habitat in Car Nicobar Island. It is suggested to intensify research investigations on the biodiversity of fish species and its role in mosquito vector control in the local water bodies of Car Nicobar Island. Keeping the long-term perspective in mind, strategies such as periodic fish fauna surveys, identification of breeding sites, proper management of larval habitats, creating public awareness on establishment of larvivorous fish ponds, planning for mass rearing and distribution of the native fish species through health education, and the use of native biological agents for mosquito vector control should be adopted. Further, field research aimed to scale-up the sustainability and larvivorous potentiality of these fish species at the field level could help evolve an appropriate intervention strategy against the mosquito vector. It is imperative to formulate conservation strategies to protect the native fish species and their habitat through Car Nicobar’s tribal council or else several species may go extinct before they are discovered.

Conflict of interest: None


  Acknowledgements Top


The authors are thankful to the Nicobarese (local people) and the tribal council in the study area of Car Nicobar Island for their cooperation and also grateful to the Director, ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, New Delhi, Zoological Survey of India, Port Blair and Directorate of Fisheries, A & N Islands. Funding for the study was provided from the Integrated Diseases Vector Control (IDVC) project of ICMR-NIMR.



 
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

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