Morphometric and meristic characters of snow trout, Schizothorax labiatus, inhabiting the Jhelum River and its tributaries
Schizothorax labiatus (McClelland) is considered to be one of the most economically important fish species among Schizothorax spp. A total of twenty-four morphometric and five meristic characters were examined; 18 of the morphometric characters as percentages of total length and four characters as percentages of head length were studied. It was found that the characters of standard length, fork length, pre pelvic length, pre anal length, and pre dorsal length had the highest correlations with total length, whereas dorsal fin height followed by caudal fin height had the lowest correlations. In percentages of head length post orbital length had the highest correlation whereas snout length had the lowest correlation. Overall, the results revealed that all the morphometric characters exhibited linear relationships and depicted significantly (P < 0.05) high degree of correlation, while the meristic characters counted were constant in all sizes of S. labiatus, indicating that they were independent of body size. The study provided basic information that will be useful for fish biologists and researchers in the future management and conservation of this fish species.