Sunder Lal Hora

Sunder Lal Hora (May 2, 1896 – December 8, 1955)
was an Indian ichthyologist and was known for his biogeographical theory on the affinities of Western Ghats and
Indo-Malayan forms. He was the second Indian director of the Zoological Survey of India, succeeding Baini
Prashad.

[4] Hora, Sunder Lal (1949). “Satpura hypothesis of the distribution of the Malayan fauna and flora to peninsular India” (PDF). Proceedings of the National Institute of Science
15B: 309–314.
[5] Hora, S.L. (1940). “Dams and the problems of migratory
fishes” (PDF). Current Science 9 (9): 406–407.

Hora was born at Hafizabad in the Punjab on 2 May 1896.
He schooled in Jullunder before college at Lahore. He
met Thomas Nelson Annandale who visited his college
in Lahore in 1919 and was invited to the Zoological Survey of India. In 1921 he became in-charge of ichthyology
and herpetology and in 1947 became Superintendent of
the Z.S.I. and then Director after Baini Prashad moved
to become an advisor to the government. He died on December 8, 1955.[1][2]

2 References
• Hora, S. L. 1944. On the Malayan affinities of the
freshwater fish fauna of Peninsular India, and its
bearing on the probable age of the Garo-Rajmahal
Gap. Proc. Nat. Inst. Sci. India, 10(2):423–439.
• Hora, S. L. 1949. Satpura Hypothesis of the Distribution of the Malayan Fauna and Flora to Peninsular
India. Proc. Nat. Inst. Sci. India, 15(8):309–314.

The Satpura hypothesis, a zoo-geographical hypothesis
proposed by him that suggests that the central Indian
Satpura Range of hills acted as a bridge for the gradual
migrations of Malayan fauna into the peninsula and the
Western Ghats of India. He supported the theory on the
basis of torrential fishes which had special suckers to hold
onto rocks. Later research however pointed out that his
examples made use of unrelated species showing common characters that were independently evolved, that is
they were examples of convergent evolution.[3][4]
Hora was also among the Indian pioneers of fish and
wildlife conservation and pointed out the effect of dams
on the migrations of riverine fishes and noted the poor
design of fish ladders in Indian dams.[5]
A genus of ricefish, Horaichthys (“Hora’s Fish”), was created in his honour and placed as a sole member of the
family Horaichthyidae. The species is now placed in
the genus Oryzias and the family is no longer considered
valid.

1

Notes

[1] Silas, E.G. (1956). “Sunder Lal Hora” (PDF). Copeia (2):
134–136.
[2] Roonwal, M.L. “Sunder Lal Hora (1899-1955)" (PDF).
Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy 22
(6): 287–303.
[3] Karanth, Praveen (2003). “Evolution of disjunct distributions among wet-zone species of the Indian subcontinent: Testing various hypotheses using a phylogenetic approach” (PDF). Current Science 85 (9): 1276–1282.

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