Fishes in Kerala

Kerala is known as God’s own country. This beautiful land is blessed with moderate climatic conditions thanks to the evergreen forests and the Western Ghats. The state is blessed with approximately on average 3000mm rain every year. The abundant water flows through small canals, streams, rivers, backwaters and finally reaches sea. 41 west flowing and three east flowing rivers originate from the Western Ghats of Kerala that make up a total length of 32000 Km.

 Habitat of Fishes

All these water bodies are home to a vast variety of fish species. In addition, the paddy fields that serve the food requirement of this small state is also home to different species of fish. The fresh water fishes are normally found in more than one habitat, ie, paddy fields, ponds, lakes, canals, streams, rivers and backwaters. The backwaters that is saline for most part of the year turns fresh during monsoon. Similarly so many ecological changes happen throughout the year, but the fishes are well adapted to survive the extreme conditions.

Fish Species

Studies have revealed that there are 210 species of freshwater fishes identified in Kerala, of which more than 26 are endemic. Most of these are ornamental varieties used in aquariums, having high potential in domestic and international markets. Most of the freshwater fishes are well adapted to survive in the differing climates and environments. Many fishes have got additional respiratory organs to enable breathing air while crawling through land, that enable them to migrate from one habitat to another, or from one pond to another. Many fishes inhabiting the paddy fields bury themselves in mud during drought, and remain there in dormant stage, till the next monsoon comes.

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