Research Report

Incidence of Lordosis in Puntius kamalika (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) Collected from Colombo District, Sri Lanka  

Laith A. Jawad1 , Hiranya Sudasinghe2
1 Flat Bush, Manukau, Auckland 2016, New Zealand
2 Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
Author    Correspondence author
International Journal of Aquaculture, 2017, Vol. 7, No. 7   doi: 10.5376/ija.2017.07.0007
Received: 25 Apr., 2017    Accepted: 17 May, 2017    Published: 22 May, 2017
© 2017 BioPublisher Publishing Platform
This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Jawad L.A., and Sudasinghe H., 2017, Incidence of lordosis in Puntius kamalika (Teleostei: Cyprinidae) collected from Colombo District, Sri Lanka, International Journal of Aquaculture, 7(7): 51-56 (doi: 10.5376/ija.2017.07.0007)


Cases of lordosis including one flexion is described in one specimen of Puntius kamalika. To estimate the severances of lordosis several morphometric measurements of the vertebrae were taken in addition to the angle found in between the two sides of the lordotic vertebrae. The depth of the curvature is also measured to estimate the severity of the case. Causes of these cases were of anomalies were discussed.

Anomalies; Cyprinidae; Lordosis; Vertebral column; Sri Lanka

1 Introduction

Deformities in fishes are well documented in several species around the world (Antunes and Da Cunha, 2002; Jawad and Al-Mamry, 2012; Jawad, 2013). Due to several factors, these anomalies could be resulted from changes in the metabolism of the fish, which might be physical, chemical and biological. A deviation, irreversible, natural or induced, morphology of fish could then be induced (Divanach et al., 1996). In the wild population, the incidences of fish abnormalities are rare (Boglione et al., 2001), and if they happened, they usually considered as an indication of a discrepancy in the habitats that the fish living in genetic or epigenetic could be behind the causes of abnormalities in fishes (Afonso et al., 2000; Sadler et al., 2001).


The role of the environmental conditions in inducing anomalies occurs during the larval development of fish. At these early stages of the fish development, any pathogens (Villeneuve et al., 2005) or the physical and chemical components can affect the process of development in the skeletal system. Among these factors, Ørnsrud et al. (2004) and Sfakianakis et al. (2004) have suggested brightness, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and salinity. On the other hand, Koyama (1996) proposed specific toxic substances that have a teratogenic effect, i.e., herbicides and organophosphorus pesticides. Finally, Louiz et al. (2007) recommended that heavy metals and hydrocarbons may bring changes in the bones during their development. Cases of teratology in the skeletal system of the fish, therefore, have been used to indicate the presence of pollutants in the environment (Von Westernhagen and Dethlefsen, 1997).


There are several forms of severe deformities that can happen to the vertebral column of the fish. Lordosis is one of those anomalies; it develops in both the thoracic and caudal vertebrae. The non-inflation of the swimbladder in fish can cause different levels of lordosis (Chatain and Dewavrin, 1989). Fishes during their developmental stages could face unfavourable environmental factors that can cause cases of lordosis (Kihara et al., 2002). Two levels of lordosis can be developed in fishes, it is either minor modification in the vertebral column or the whole column bends in acute angles (Divanach et al., 1996). Therefore, it is important task in the fisheries and hatcheries to study the effects of deformity on body shape (Sfakianakis et al., 2004).


Puntius kamalika is a freshwater species prefers benthopelagic environment. It distribution is confined to Sri Lanka, where it found in the wet-zone lowlands. No biological information about this species (Froese and Pauly, 2017). The conservation status of this species has not been evaluated and since the distribution of this species is confined to Sri Lanka, the unfavourable environmental factors might make it vulnerable and threatened. Therefore it is important to report about the any abnormality that might occur and might cause death to the individuals of this species. The present study aims to: (1) to describe for the first time a case of lordosis in P. kamalika collected from Sri Lanka; (2) to describe this anomaly and compare them with those of the normal individuals. The damage at both the histological and the cellular stages was not determined and left for a future detailed study which will take into consideration comparison of the normal and abnormal specimens.


2 Materials and Methods

One adult specimen of P. kamalika was collected on 30th December 2014. This specimen appeared with severe case of lordosis, which was collected from the Western Province, Colombo District, Bolgoda drainage, stream at Mawathgama, running through paddy fields N 6°49'34" E 80° 0'42" using drag net at depth of 450 mm (Figure 1). Table 1 shows the measurements of the abnormal specimen. Radiography was used to examine the skeleton of the fish to describe the anomaly. The ratio between the length of the vertebral column (anterior edge of the 1st vertebra to the posterior edge of the last caudal vertebra) and fish total length was used to show the difference between the normal and abnormal specimens. Using a digital protractor, the angle found in the centre of the lordotic vertebral column was measured. To calculate the formula of Louiz et al. (2007) that measure the depth of the curvature (DC), the height of the vertebral column (HC) was measured, which is resembles the distance between the apical line of the vertebra and the base of the vertebra at the centre of the curvature. The formula of Louiz et al. (2007) I usually used to evaluate the level of deformity in the lordotic specimens. The length measurements were made using digital caliper with accuracy of 0.01 mm. The Louiz et al. (2007) formula is:




Figure 1 Map showing the collection area



Table 1 Morphometrics of the abnormal and normal specimens of Puntius kamalika collected from Colombo District, Sri Lanka


Chapleau (1988), Ramzu and Meunier (1999), and Nowroozi (2012) have defined the abdominal and caudal vertebrae as those vertebrae with haemal spines and located directly posterior to the skull, and those vertebrae with fused haemal spines respectively.


As with humans, the length of a vertebra is described as parallel to the cranial- caudal axis, and the width is perpendicular.


To describe vertebral shape changes independent of individual size differences, five ratios from 7 vertebral measurements were calculated.


Length ratio = Dorsal length of the vertebra / Ventral length of vertebra

Width ratio = Anterior width of the vertebra / Posterior width of the vertebra

Height ratio = Dorsal height of the vertebra / Ventral height of the vertebra

Thickness ratio = Middle line width of the vertebra / Posterior width of the vertebra

Slenderness ratio = Dorsal length of the vertebra / Posterior width of the vertebra


The purposes of the 5 ratio mentioned above are: length ration for wedging along vertebral length; width ration for wedging along the vertebral width; height ration for distortion of the amphicoelous shape; thickness ration for mid-centrum thickness; and slenderness ratio for ventral slenderness. All measurements were made by the same person and instrument in order to increase the precision of measurements and reduce variability introduced by measurement error.


The specimens were kept in the ichthyological collection of the Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (DZ 3757 abnormal and DZ 3758 normal).


3 Results

Externally, it was possible to observe the anomaly in the body, curved vertebral column at one place (Figure 2). Internally, all the organs were appeared normal. Caudal region of the vertebral column showed no flexion. The case of lordosis involves 1st – 7th caudal vertebrae, with the severe twisting is at the 4th caudal vertebra. The vertebral column starts to bend slightly starting from 12th thoracic vertebrae reaching to the lowest point at the bottom of the curvature at 4th caudal vertebra (Figure 3). The DC ratio of the deformed specimen is 0.30, the value of the lordotic angle is 95˚, and the curvature’s depth is 30 mm.



Figure 2 Puntius kamalika, a. abnormal specimen, 58.5 mm TL; b. normal specimen, 72.6 mm TL



Figure 3 Radiograph of abnormal specimen of Puntius kamalika, 58.5 mm TL


The five ratios calculated for the 5 ratios appeared to be affected by the position of the vertebra and the curvature of the vertebral column. Vertebrae 1-3 showed and increased height on the ventral side (0.022-0.026) (Figure 3) and reduced on the dorsal side (1.229-1.250). The anterior and the posterior parts of the centra of the 4th and 5th caudal vertebrae were distorted in a way that the anterior and posterior parts of the 4th and the 5th vertebrae are raised upward. The 6th and 7th vertebrae are wedged (1.334-1.356) (have a reduced ventral length relative to their dorsal length). Vertebrae 2-3 and 7-8 have reduced midline widths (0.023-0.030). Slenderness and thickness were less in vertebrae 6-8 (0.001-0.003) (Figure 3).


4 Discussions

Without experimental evidence, it is not possible to know the source of the causes of this disorder. Among the causes that have been given for the case of lordosis are genetic in addition to the nutrition and environmental factors. Other factors such as egg density, shocks and presence of pollutants of different types and variation in levels of radiation, salinity, oxygen and light can also considered among those reasons to cause lordosis (Caris and Rice, 1990). All these factors can happen to the studied specimen.


Both water and sediments in Sri Lanka were shown to be highly polluted with different types of pollutants (Vidanaarachchi et al., 2006; Bandara and Hettiaratchi, 2010; Seneviratne, 2011; Kananke et al., 2014).


The developmental mechanism during the early stages of the life of the fish can easily disturb by the presence of pollutants (Kihara et al., 2002). One example on such interference is the elevation of the level of pH due to increase in the level of carbon dioxide. Due to such circumstances, the normal blood pH is remained due to the presence of the normal serum osmosis. The process of bone decalcification could start as the level of the carbonic acid rises to maintain normal blood pH (Sarkar and Kapoor, 1956; Andrades et al., 1996).


The deepest the lordotic curvature is the most severe the case is. In the present study, the lordotic angle is 95°, which means that the vertebral column is acutely bent. High depth of the lordotic curvature support the severe case obtained in the present study. Chang et al. (2010), Louiz et al. (2007) and Jawad et al. (2014) have reached to  similar results on thornfish, Terapon jarbu, some members of the family Gobiidae and Carasobarbus luteus and the shad.


Tenualosa ilisha respectively, Başaran (2006) suggested that case like the one observed in the present study may hinders the ability of the fish to swim normally. It seems that it had been in great competition for food and such struggle is the main component for survival in the wild environment.


The morphological changes in the case of lordosis showed in the specimen of P. kamalika is related anterior-posterior (i.e. cranial-caudal) compression along the spine. Structural indication is present in the x-ray showing that the normal amphicoelous (hour-glass) shape of vertebrae is distorted so that vertebral height is reduced on the convex and is greater on the concave side of curvature. In addition, vertebrae at the approximate bottom of the curvature are wedged so that the length on the concave side of the curve is reduced relative to the convex length. Also, the midline width is significantly reduced for some vertebrae. Similar changes were observed in Poecilia reticulata by Gorman et al. (2010). They suggested that the observed changes in vertebral bone structure may be due to either (1) distortion of normal vertebral shape or (2) active remodeling of vertebral osteoid bone as a consequence of extrinsic forces. The remodeling event has been described in animal models with induced curvature in a number of teleost species (Laerm, 1976; Huysseune et al., 2000; Kranenbarg et al., 2005). The formation of asymmetrical vertebrae demonstrates changes in growth rate along their growth plates, causing uneven progression in longitudinal growth and consequential shape distortion in the form of wedging (Mente et al., 1997). Therefore further study of vertebral wedging in P. kamalika and other fish species that will show lordosis in the future should test cellular activity at the intervertebral region (Inohaya et al., 2007), to evaluate whether there is modulation of growth in curved individuals.


Authors’ contributions

Both authors were equally contributed to the production of this paper.



We would like to thank Department of Zoology, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka for giving us the opportunity to work on the fish sample and use the facilities available at its laboratories.



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