New subterranean fish family discovered in Kerala
Thrissur: Research into a new variety of fish spotted at Oorakam in Malappuram has led to the discovery of a new fish family. Aenigmachanna Gollum, a subterranean fish, was discovered in Oorakam and further studies on the fish by researchers in Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) proved that it has similarity with another fish named Aenigmachanna Mahabali which was found earlier from Peringara in Thiruvalla a year ago.
Details of the newly discovered fish Aenigmachanna Gollum has been published in the latest edition of the international journal Nature Magazine. This is the fourth genus of fish to be discovered in the world after 20 years. The scientists came to know about the fish that was spotted in a well in Malappuram, through social media.
The one year long research was conducted by Dr Rajeev Raghavan, an assistant professor in KUFOS; V K Anoop, a research fellow at KUFOS; Dr Neelesh Dahanukar, scientist at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Pune; Dr. Lukas Rüber, Curator of Ichthyology at Natural History Museum in Bern of Switzerland; Dr. Siby Phillip, Assistant Professor at Nirmalagiri College in Koothuparamba; Dr Brett Clark and Dr Ralf Britz, researchers at the London Museum of Natural History.
The fish has been named as Aenigmachanna Gollum inspired from the character Gollum, who always stays underground, in the movie 'Lord of the Rings'. The scientists assume that the fish came to the surface after the flood havoc in 2018.
The new fish are upto 12-20 centimetres long and have a muddy shade. Since they are about 120 million years old species and have not subjects to much changes, these fish are considered as living fossil. It is assumed that they originated in the Gondwanaland which later split into the continents of Asia and Africa.