ENVIS Centre, Ministry of Environment & Forest, Govt. of India

Printed Date: Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Manual on Identification of Fishes of Parangipettai coast


Manual on Identification of Fishes of Parangipettai coast
The term "fish" most precisely describes any non-tetrapod craniates (i.e. an animal with a skull and in most cases a backbone) that have gills throughout life and whose limbs, if any, are in the shape of fins. Unlike groupings such as birds or mammals, fish are not a single clade but a paraphyletic collection of taxa, including hagfishes, lampreys, sharks and rays, rayfinned fish, coelacanths, and lungfish. A typical fish is ectothermic, has a streamlined body for rapid swimming, extracts oxygen from water using gills or uses an accessory breathing organ to breathe atmospheric oxygen, has two sets of paired fins, usually one or two (rarely three) dorsal fins, an anal fin, and a tail fin, has jaws, has skin that is usually covered with scales, and lays eggs. Fish range in size from the huge 16 metre (52 ft) whale shark to the tiny  8 millimetre (0.3 in) stout infantfish.
Economic importance
With respect to the economic uses of fishes, using fishes as our meal is of the most economic importance. It is highly rich in protein & vitamin A & D & also a source of phosphorous besides polyunsaturated fatty acids. . Among marine food fishes sardines besides other clupeids, mackerel, Bombay duck, ribbon fishes, carangids tuna, seer fishes, barracudas, lizard fishes, perches, sciaenids and flat fishes contribute their mite to the fishery wealth of India and are also very popular among the consumers. Cartilaginous fishes such as sharks and rays are also taken as food. Fishery by-products such as fish oil, leather & other polishing material, fish meal, fish manure besides innumerable other products are extensively used by human beings.        
In view of their commercial consequences, overfishing has become a major threat to the fishery resources. Overfishing eventually causes population collapse because the survivors cannot produce enough young to replace those removed. Such commercial extinction does not mean that the species is extinct; merely that it can no longer sustain a fishery.
Fishes evoke much interest not only due to the economic benefits but also due to scientific and recreational values. Fishery Science has become an integral part of various educational programmes and students evince keen interest in the identification of fishes. . More researchers come forward to undertake investigations on this group of organisms. Here also identification becomes very important. Administrators and planners also have interest in knowing what is what with the intention to make planning more effective. Taking into consideration all these facts, the present identification manual on common fishes of Parangipettai coast has been compiled incorporation key for the identification of various families and species. As colour is of immense use in the identification of fishes in fresh condition and also the photos of fishes, notes on colour has been incorporated besides common English name and vernacular Tamil name. This manual has keys for the identification of 110 species of fishes belonging to 73 genera, 55 families and 17 orders. 
Compiled by

S. Ajmal Khan
P.S. Lyla
S. Murugan 
K. Kadharsha