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.

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.

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 ofconvergent evolution.

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.

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 genusOryzias and the family is no longer considered valid.