New catfish species spotted in Kerala, researchers name it after ‘public’

By G Rajesh Kumar 

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Horaglanis populi | Photo: Mathrubhumi

Pathanamthitta: With the help of local residents, researchers have found a new subterranean blind catfish species in Kerala. The fish, which was spotted inside a well at the house of Mallappally native Pradeep Thambi in December 2020, has been scientifically named Horaglanis populi.

Since people played a major role in finding the new species, researchers have named it after the public with the term ‘populi’, which means ‘people’ in Latin.

Interestingly, the fish got into the house’s water tank via the motor pipe and Pradeep, out of curiosity, shared its pictures on social media. Following which, the researchers at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) came to know about the new species and carried out studies.

The study, which confirmed H. populi as a new groundwater fish, was conducted by a team of researchers, including Dr Rajeev Raghavan, Remya L Sundar, CP Arjun, Ralf Britz and Neelesh Dahanukar. Their research findings have been published in the international journal Vertebrate Zoology.

As per reports, 12 out of the total 18 groundwater fish species in the country are from Kerala. They are mainly found in the springs located in the regions between Thrissur and central Travancore.

Earlier, another catfish species namely Horaglanis Krishnai was spotted in Kottayam in 1948.

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