Bridging Conservation and Development; Relocating of Systomus martenstyni is the only hope
University Of Peradeniya, Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Nadeela Hirimuthugoda And Nadun Weerasinghe
Systomus martenstyni is an endangered, endemic freshwater fish recorded only in one location in Sri Lanka. Information of this species is scarce. But due to the on going Moragahakanda & Kaluganga Development Project its habitat is highly threatened thus, relocation is needed which is the only option. The study aims to find its’ breeding ecology and to evaluate the success of relocated populations.
Field surveys were carried to find out the natural populations of this species and to record their habitat information. The species was bred in captivity and most successful captive breeding methods were experimented in the aquarium. Successfully bred individuals were reintroduced into new locations taking their natural conditions into consideration.
This species prefer fast flowing waters with rocky bottoms as their breeding habitats. But in captivity they could be bred in stagnant water as well thus, they are adaptable. Hatching success was higher in breeding tanks when flow rate and rocky bottoms were provided. Flow rate is the major factor influencing their distribution in a relocated habitat. Relocation is successful for this species.
Reintroduction is a better conservation method than in-situ conservation for this particular species. Since information on breeding of this species was scarce this study is important in identifying their breeding ecology. Ultimately this study results in conserving a highly threatened and an endangered freshwater fish species which was about to extinct in the years to come.