Journal of Sustainability Science and Management 2006 Volume 1(2):21-26

PRELIMINARY STUDY ON FISH DIVERSITY OF ULU TUNGUD, MELIAU RANGE, SANDAKAN, SABAH AMIRRUDIN AHMAD, SYED AHMAD RIZAL TN. NEK
Unit Penyelidikan Ekosistem Air Tawar (UPEAT), Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia,21300, Terengganu D.I., Malaysia

MOHD. AZMI AMBAK
Institute of Tropical Aquaculture,Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia (KUSTEM), 21030 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu

Abstract An extension survey on ichthyofauna was carried out at the Ansuan River, Meliau River, Tungud River and several unnamed streams within the vicinity of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Meliau from 14th December to 21st December 2004. Nineteen species belonging to five families were recorded. The fish fauna was dominated by Cyprinidae (47%) followed by Balitoridae (36%) and other families. Rasbora cf. sumatrana (Cyprinidae) and Nemacheilus olivaceus (Balitoridae) when present are the most common species. Several specimens of the genus Gastromyzon and Glaniopsis are yet to identified to the species level The surveyed areas are relatively disturbed by human activities particularly logging and plantations but most of the streams and rivers visited during the survey are having relatively clear water and good visibility. KEYWORDS: Freshwater fish, abundance, Cyprinidae, Sabah Introduction The freshwater fishes of the state of Sabah was probably better known and well documented based on the works of Inger & Chin (1962) and a subsequent supplementary chapter by P. K. Chin (see Inger & Chin 1990). Despite the publication on their major works, no further comprehensive collections were made in the recent years to document the fish diversity of the State but only small collections at the localized areas (see Chin & Samat 1992, Chin & Samat 1995) which revealed some significant finding. Long-term ecological study of fishes at the Danum Valley Field Center (DVFC) area has shown that rare species could opportunistically collected to give a better picture of the total species richness and diversity (Martin-Smith and Tan, 1998). Their study have resulted a significant contribution to understanding ichthyofauna of the eastern Sabah, especially for the Danum Valley vicinity on the inter- and intra-catchment variability. Magurran (1988) stated that a short-term collection over a period of only a few days can miss rare or seasonally abundant species. Constant collections over the same geographic area over a long period of time are crucial to develop the species accumulation curve but, long-term studies normally required large financial support, huge amount of money that most of the time, cannot be possible to obtain. Species accumulation curve seldom be reached over a short period of time, more often show extremely long tail (Martin-Smith and Tan, 1998) with additional species being recorded long after collection begins. Therefore, any opportunities to survey even a localize area is greatly appreciated and sometimes are important to document any biological diversity present at the time of collection.
Correspondence: Amirrudin Ahmad Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Kolej Universiti Sains dan Teknologi Malaysia ,21030 Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu D.I., Malaysia

KUSTEM, 2006

Amirrudin Ahmad et al.

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Such studies were conducted in many different areas such as Tabin Wildlife Reserved (Sungai Segama), Crocker Range, Maliau Basin and Kinabalu Parks (Goose 1972, Samat 1990) has produced an interesting finding. Samat & Chin (1996) produced a checklist of balitorid fish of Sabah consist of 19 species and briefly discuss on its biogeography, with some taxonomic notes, species composition and ecomorphology. Study on balitorid loach particularly on Gastromyzon is currently on-going (Kelvin K.P. Lim pers. comm.). Studies conducted at Danum Valley (see Martin-Smith 1998, Martin-Smith & Tan 1998) yielded two new species of Gastromyzon (see Tan & Martin-Smith 1998). Subsequently, a new species of Clarias and Hemibagrus was described based on the specimens collected from the upper reaches of Segama River, DVFC, Sabah (see Ng 1999, Ng et al. 2000). Streams and rivers within the Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Sabah was previously surveyed for its ichthyofauna by a group from the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (Azli A. Bakar pers. comm.). An additional ichthyofauna survey was carried out from 14th December to 21st December 2004 at several rivers namely Ansuan River, Meliau River Tungud River and several small unnamed streams within the vicinity of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Meliau, Sabah. The objective was to assess the fish diversity of the area as a part of baseline study on fish biodiversity of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Sabah. This study was regarded as secondary study to the previous survey conducted at almost the similar area but the small streams within oil palm or Acacia plantation within the reserve. Material and Methods
Study sites

The description of the study sites visited during the present study was given in Table 1. Sampling sites were randomly selected and was limited to the equipment availability during the survey and manpower (Figure 1). Sampling sites of the present survey were chosen not to overlap the previous study which was conducted to the similar area. Therefore, emphasis was given to the small headwater streams or rivers that were not previously surveyed. Several sites are small, unnamed streams within the Acacia plantations and oil palm plantations were included in the survey to complement the database of fish fauna found in various areas of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Sabah.
Sampling methods

Fish were collected mainly using cast netting with stretched mesh of 1.5cm, 2m long. Scoop net and seine net were used where permitted to collect fish. All fish were identified to the lowest taxonomic level where possible before being returned to the water, except for voucher specimens which were preserved in 10% formalin in the field but replaced by 75% ethanol after two weeks in the laboratory. Abundance of fish were recorded based of the specimens collected; + = rare, ++ = common and +++ = ubiquitous when present. When identification in the field is not permitted, species confirmation was performed in the laboratory using standard taxonomic references of Roberts (1989), Kottelat et al. (1993) and Inger and Chin (1990). Familial arrangement follows Kottelat et al. (1993). Those species that were not possible to be placed in any taxa were designated as ‘undetermined species’ until further progress in North Borneo freshwater fishes is resolved. Voucher specimens are currently deposited at the Ichthyological Collections at General Biology Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, University College of Science and Technology Malaysia (KUSTEM) under the care of the first author.

Journal of Sustain. Sci & Mngt., 2006 Vol. 1(2):21-26

PRELIMINARY STUDY ON FISH DIVERSITY 23

Results and Discussions A total of 19 species of primary freshwater fish belong to five families were recorded from drainages within the Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve in the present survey (Table 2). The fish fauna was dominated by Cyprinidae (nine species = 47%) followed by Balitoridae (seven species = 36% - including two morphospecies of Gastromyzon and Glaniopsis, respectively). Fish species from the family Cyprinidae are rather common to North Borneo. Several species of the cyprinids were restricted to Borneo namely Garra borneensis and Hampala sabanus. The family Balitoridae is also common in headwater stream species of Borneo. It can constitute up to 50% of the total species of ichthyofauna in that habitat (Tan and Martin-Smith 1998). Others were represented by a single species (Table 2). The occurrence of Gastromyzon and Glaniopsis in the study areas are expected but the recent taxonomic keys are unable us to identify at least two morphospecies of Gastromyzon and Glaniopsis, respectively. Until further taxonomic works to resolve the chaotic identity of these species-complex, we are currently designated the specimens collected in the present study as ‘undetermined species’. Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve headwater streams of by far contributing significantly low fish species. Small, high gradient, swift flowing streams at the headwater are subjected to rapid modification by natural processes such as heavy rain. Habitat modifications within the short period of time are unable to allow animal to flourish. The middle reaches with much slower current and large streams seem to be more abundant with ichthyofauna and most of the fish collected in the recent study were from this area. Most of the cyprinids inhabit this habitat and some are economically important such as Tor douronensis and Hampala sabana. Others were species that having great potential as ornamental fishes such as Nemacheilus olivaceus and Homaloptera stephensoni. In general, fishes collected in the recent survey are common to headwater stream of Sabah except fish species from the genus Gastromyzon and Glaniopsis that could be an unreported species. Fish species recorded in the recent study are relatively low compared to DVFC (see Martin-Smith and Tan, 1998). In term of habitat partitioning, fish species collected in the recent survey predominantly representing the riffle specialist followed by ubiquitous species (see Martin-Smith, 1998). Lack of pelagic fish species reported herein was probably contributed by different equipment used in the present surveys. The process of documenting the ichthyofauna diversity of this area is far from completed and many species were not recorded but definitely present in the area. Until further surveys were conducted, the recent study managed to catalogue approximately 19 primary freshwater fish species of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserved, Sabah. The number of fish species known to the western part of Meliau Range is now 31 species, at least. Cyprinidea by far, the most ubiquitous family of freshwater fish in many part of Southeast Asia and the similar finding was observed from the recent survey of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Sabah. Acknowledgement We wish to thank, Mr. Tay Soon Poh and Alladin bin Mujnabi of TSH Resources Berhad for providing the facilities and accommodation during the field trip, the Sabah Forestry Department and their staffs especially Mr. Postar and Mr. Masuari for their field assistances and support during fish sampling. We thank the University College of Science and Technology Malaysia (KUSTEM) for supporting this study. This study was partly funded by Global Environmental Center and KUSTEM short term grant (Vot 54142) to the first author.

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References Chin, P.K. & Samat, A. 1992. A new species of loach, Nemacheilus elegentissimus (family Balitoridae, subfamily Nemacheilinae) from Danum Valley, Sabah. Malay. Nat. J.46:2533. Chin, P.K. & Samat, A. 1995. Freshwater fishes of Danum Valley, Sabah. Sabah Soc. J. 12: 17– 46. Inger, R.F. & Chin, P.K. 1962. The Freshwater Fishes of North Borneo. Fieldiana Zool. 45: 1– 268. Inger, R. F. and P. K. Chin. 1990. The Freshwater Fishes of North Borneo. (Revised edition with supplementary chapter by P.K. Chin). Fieldiana Zool. (Republished by Lun Hing Trading, Kota Kinabalu). 45: 1-268+46pp. Goose, J.P. 1972. Fishes of Kinabalu National Park (North Borneo). Biologie 48(3): 1–5. Kottelat, M., A. J. Whitten, S. N. Karthikasari, and S. Wirjoatmadjo, 1993. Freshwater fishes of Western Indonesia and Sulawesi. Periplus Editions, Hong Kong, pp 259; 84 pls. Martin-Smith, K. M. 1998. Relationship between fishes and habitat in rainforest streams in Sabah, Malaysia. Journal of Fish Biology. 52: 458-482. Martin-Smith, K.M. & Tan, H.H. 1998. Diversity of freshwater fishes from eastern Sabah: an annotated checklist from Danum Valley and a consideration of inter- and intra-catchment variability. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 46(2): 573-604. Magurran, A.E. 1988. Ecological Diversity and Its Measurement. Chapman & Hall. London. 179 pp. Ng, H.H. 1999. Two new species of catfishes of the genus Clarias from Borneo (Teleostei: Clariidae). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 47 (1): 17-32. Ng, H.H., K.M. Martin-Smith, P.K.L. Ng. 2000. Hemibagrus furcatus, a new species of bagrid catfish (Teleostei: Siluriformes) from Sabah, East Malaysia. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 48 (1): 65-69. Robert, T.R., (1989). The Freshwater Fishes of Western Borneo (Kalimantan Barat, Indonesia). Memoirs of the California Academy of Sciences (14): xii-209. Samat, A. 1990. Taburan dan populasi ikan air tawar di beberapa altitud di Taman Kinabalu, Sabah. Pertanika 13(13): 341–348. Samat, A., P. K. Chin. 1996. The balitorid fish of Sabah. The Sarawak Museum Journal Vol L No. 71 (new series): 87-92. Tan, H. H., K.M. Martin-Smith. 1998. Two new species of Gastromyzon (Teleostei: Balitoridae) from the Kuamut headwaters, Kinabatangan Basin, Sabah, Malaysia. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 46(2): 361–371.
Journal of Sustain. Sci & Mngt., 2006 Vol. 1(2):21-26

PRELIMINARY STUDY ON FISH DIVERSITY 25

SOUTH CHINA SEA Kota

SULU SEA Mt. Kinabalu Ranau Labuk Sandakan

Telupid Mt. Trus Madi Keningau Tenom Sapulut CELEBES SEA KALIMANTAN Tawau Kinabatangan River Mt. Rara

Lahad Datu

Figure 1. The map of Sabah showing major towns. The sampling area is indicated by upper part of Labuk River. Table 1. General description of the study sites visited at the recent ichthyofauna survey.
Site Site 1 Date 15-Dec-04 General location Sg. Meliau - upstream of TSH nursery Sg. Meliau - downstream at IJM plantation Microhabitat characteristic

at the

medium size stream about 15-25m wide; rocky bottom, fast flowing water, clear and cold water downstream of concrete crossing of Sg. Meliau; medium size stream about 25m wide; fast flowing water, slightly sedimented, gravel and sandy bottom small creek about 3-5m wide, pebbles and rocky bottom; fast torrential headwater stream, clear and cold water medium size stream about 15-25m wide; rocky bottom, fast flowing water, clear and cold water small stream about 3-5m wide; soft gravel and coarse sandy bottom; slow moving, clear and cold water under riparian shades small stream about 3-5m wide; mainly rocky and coarse sandy bottom; slow moving, clear and cold water partly exposed to direct sunlight large size stream about 25-30m wide; rocky bottom downstream, gravel and pebbles upstream, fast flowing water, clear and cold water

Site 2

15-Dec-04

Site 3

16-Dec-04

Sg. Tungud - upstream of TSH basecamp Sg. Tungud - at main tributary near TSH basecamp unnamed stream within TSH Acacia plantation unnamed stream within IJM oil palm plantation

Site 4

16-Dec-04

Site 5

17-Dec-04

Site 6

17-Dec-04

Site 7

17-Dec-04

Sg. Ansuan - middle reach

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Table 2. Checklist of fish species collected on the recent survey of Ulu Tungud Forest Reserve, Meliau, Sabah
Family Anguillidae Cyprinidae No. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Balitoridae 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. Species Anguilla malgumora Kaup 1856 Barbodes balleroides (Valenciennes 1842) Garra borneensis (Vaillant 1902) Hampala sabanus Inger & Chin 1962 Lobocheilos bo (Popta 1904) Nematabramis everetti Boulenger 1894 Osteochilus waandersii (Bleeker 1852) Rasbora cf. sumatrana (Bleeker 1852) Schismatorhynchus holorhynchos Seibert & Tjakrawidjaja 1998 Tor tambra (Valenciennes, in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1842) Gastromyzon cf. danumensis Chin & Inger 1989 Gastromyzon sp. undet. 1 Gastromyzon sp. undet. 2 Glaniopsis sp. undet. 1 Glaniopsis sp. undet. 2 Homaloptera stephensoni Hora 1932 Nemacheilus olivaceus* Boulenger 1894 Glyptothorax cf. major (Boulenger 1894) Betta cf. unimaculata Chin 1990 Remarks slow flowing, sandy bottom fast flowing, rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom open water, rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom open water, rocky bottom open water, rocky bottom slow flowing, sandy bottom fast flowing, rocky bottom fast flowing, rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom inhabits rocky bottom fast flowing, rocky bottom slow flowing, sandy bottom Abund ance score + +++ +++ +++ + +++ ++ +++ + + + ++ ++ + + ++ +++ ++ +

Sisoridae Osphronemidae

* was observation by the first author Fish status (designated as + = rare, ++ = common and +++ = ubiquitous when present) were based on the specimen collected in the survey.

Journal of Sustain. Sci & Mngt., 2006 Vol. 1(2):21-26

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