Sri Lankan scientists have described a new species of fish from south-western Sri Lanka and placed in the genus Puntius.

Unlike its close relatives in Sri Lanka and India, the new species Puntius kelumi feature a combination of a smooth last unbranched dorsal-fin ray, a body depth that is 28.6-35.5 % of standard length (SL), maxillary barbels (about as long as the eye diameter) but no rostral barbels, 20-23 lateral-line scales on the body, and ½3/1/2½ scales in transverse line from mid-dorsum to pelvic-fin origin. One breeding males, the sides of the head and body are rough and extensively tuberculated.

Puntius kelumi is primarily found in large streams with clear water that flows down from the mountains. The bottom is typically made up by granite, pebbles and/or sand and is often littered with boulders.

The description was published by the journal Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

For more information about Puntius kelumi, see the paper: Pethiyagoda, R, A Silva, K Maduwage and M Meegaskumbura (2008) Puntius kelumi, a new species of cyprinid fish from Sri Lanka (Teleostei: Cyprinidae). Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters 19, pp. 201–214.

A picture of the new species can be seen here


Puntius is a genus of ray-finned fishes in the family Cyprinidae. All known members of the genus are native to Southeast Asia and India, including Sri Lanka. The name Puntius is derived from the word pungti, which is the term for small cyprinids in the Bangla (Bengali) language.

Puntius fish are commonly referred to as spotted barbs, but some species display vertical black bands instead of spots. Spotted barbs are commonly kept by aquarists and are known to be active, curious and bold. Many of them are unsuitable companions for fish with long and flowing finnage since they tend to nip such fins, a habit which causes both injury and stress in the afflicted animal.