Palk Bay’s mural

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Scientists distinguish species of needle fish from one another based on small morphologic differences. The shape of the beak, markings on the body, length and shape of the caudal fin as well as colouration, pigmentation, length of pectoral fins, number of rays in the fin and so on are examples of such morphological features.
Vernacular names of mural often do not overlap with these scientific distinctions between different species of fish. For instance, the local name belt mural refers to the species known to fisheries scientists as Ablennes hains which has distinct bands through the lengthof its body. However, for species that do not have very clear distinctions a more generic name is used. For instance, the kalinga mural refers to fish that belong to the scientific genus Strongylura but in contemporary times no further distinction is made between species of this genus. Experienced fishers often make fine distinctions between species, but unless these distinctions are identified and passed on to newer generations of fishers, traders and other actors involved in fisheries, such information is likely to get coarser as time passes on. 

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2017 Sep