Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Biodiversity of Deccan Plateau: Adding to the bio index of the Deccan plateau ahead of the United Nations conference on biological diversity Cop-11 a team of researchers has rediscovered a tiny nematode worm 50 years after it was discovered in the belly of a fish caught from the Hussainsagar Lake in the city

DC Correspondent
Hyderabad, Sept 24: Adding to the bio index of the Deccan plateau
ahead of the United Nations conference on biological diversity
scheduled to start next week, a team of researchers has rediscovered a
tiny nematode worm 50 years after it was discovered in the belly of a
fish caught from the Hussainsagar Lake in the city.

The nematode worm belonging to the genus Philometra was named after
Hyderabad when it was discovered in 1963 by Dr Suraiya Rasheed, who is
now the director of the Laboratory of Viral Oncology and AIDS
Research, University of South California, USA. After nearly half a
century, researchers from Nanded have rediscovered the nematode,
scientifically called Philometra hyderabadensis.

The rediscovery of the nematode, which lives in fresh water fishes, is
taxonomically significant, as it will provide clues to the parasitic
diseases in commercially important fish varieties. Incidentally, so
far only two specimens of Philometra hyderabadensis have been
documented. The specimen found in 1963 is preserved in the Natural
History Museum, London.

Both the specimens scientifically studied so far are female. The male
specimen of Philometra hyderabadensis is not known. Researchers,
particularly taxonomists, are now searching for the male of this
species.

Dr SP Chavan of the department of zoology, Swami Ramanand Theerth
Marathwada University, was part of the team that had rediscovered the
worm. Dr F Moravec of the Biology Centre of the Academy of Sciences of
the Czech Republic was the other team member. They found the specimen
from Purna River and Yeldari reservoir in Parbhani district of
Maharashtra.

Dr Chavan told this correspondent that identification of the nematode
50 years after its discovery would help scientists in the better
understanding of parasites of fresh water fishes and other aquatic
animals. “This is a rare species that lives in the small intestines of
catfish and other fish varieties. Many researchers have mistaken it
for a different animal,” he said.

The female worm is 23 mm in length and 0.03 mm in width. Body tapers
slightly at
both ends. The skin or cuticle is smooth. “Light and scanning electron
microscopical examination made it possible to study in detail the
morphology of this little-known species,” he said adding that the
present finding represents the second documented record of this
species, 50 years after its original description.

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