Ram, R.; Pavan-Kumar, A.; Jaiswar, A.K.; Gireesh-Babu, P.; Krishna, G., and Chaudhari, A., 0000. Identification of fish and shellfish larvae from mangroves using DNA barcodes.
Mangrove ecosystems support coastal and marine fisheries by providing feeding, breeding, and recruitment grounds for a great diversity of fish species. Globally, mangroves are declining from anthropogenic factors, causing a reduction in fish production. Baseline data of fish species that use mangroves as nursery or breeding grounds is a prerequisite for monitoring the health of mangrove ecosystems. However, identification of fish and shellfish larvae up to species level is difficult because of a lack of distinguishing morphological characters. In the present study, fish and shellfish larval diversity from selected mangrove zones of the northwest coast of India was characterized by the DNA barcoding approach. Around 53% (n = 33) of sampled individuals could be identified up to species level without ambiguity. The study concluded that many commercially and ecologically important fish and shellfish species, such as, Pampus argenteus, Pampus chinensis, Sillago sihama, Lutjanus johnii, Boleophthalmus boddarti, and Penaeus monodon, are utilizing mangroves of the northwest coast of India as nursery grounds. The results of the present study provide baseline data for fish diversity of mangroves of the northwest coast of India.