Dragon snakehead fish

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Dragon snakehead fish (Aenigmachanna gollum ) which has been included in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list may face serious conservation challenges.

About Dragon snakehead fish

  • It is considered ‘living fossils’ and named after the character in Lord of the Rings.
  • It is mainly found in Kerala.
  • It evolved around 120 million years ago, probably with dinosaurs in the Jurassic period.
  • Since it was isolated in underground habitats, scientists say the extinction events on land may not have affected it.
  • Habitat: It is mostly seen in wetlands and nearby paddy fields.
  • After the species was identified, it became one of the most wanted items in international aquarium pet trade.
  • Due to its dragon-like appearance, it is used as a good luck fish in far east countries.
  • “It is a subterranean fish whose distribution is embedded within human dominated landscapes, making conservation measures difficult.
  • Threats: The assessment also observes the use of pesticides and insecticides in the paddy fields and the deterioration or quality of groundwater as other factors impacting the survival of the species.
  • Conservation measures: Protecting wetlands and regulating the use of pesticides and insecticides are among the recommendations as there has been a decline in the area and quality of habitats.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN red list: Vulnerable
    • The Wildlife Protection Act ,1972: Schedule II
  • Other fish species from the Kerala state: Kryptoglanis shajii, Horaglanis abdulkalami and Pangio bhujia are the other fish species listed as endangered under IUCN list.

Q1) What does IUCN stand for?

International Union for Conservation of Nature is a membership Union composed of both government and civil society organisations. It is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it. Its experts are organised into six Commissions dedicated to species survival, environmental law, protected areas, social and economic policy, ecosystem management, and education and communication. 

Source: Dragon snakehead facing unique conservation challenge