KOCHI: Scientists from India, Germany, United Kingdom and Switzerland have found a brand new household of bony fish from the Western Ghats, and named it Aenigmachannidae.

Outcomes of this research was revealed in ‘Scientific Reviews,’ the open-access mega-journal of the Nature Publishing Group.

A 12 months after the invention of the enigmatic Gollum Snakehead, Aenigmachanna gollum from the rice fields of northern Kerala, scientists have now carried out detailed research on its skeleton and genetic meeting.

The research led to the popularity that this species, and its congener Aenigmachanna mahabali, represents a brand new household completely different from Channidae, wherein each species had been initially positioned.

Rendered pictures obtained from high-resolution CT scans revealed that Aenigmachanna gollum has a surprisingly giant variety of primitive characters, and detailed molecular phylogenetic analyses together with of its mitogenome, prompt an historic separation from Channidae, the research stated.

These recommend that members of Aenigmachannidae are “residing fossils” and comprise an historic gondwanan lineage that survived the break-up of the supercontinent and the northward drift of the Indian subcontinent, about 100 million years in the past, it added.

The analysis crew comprised scientists from Senckenberg Pure Historical past Collections in Dresden (Germany), the Pure Historical past Museum in London (UK), Pure Historical past Museum in Berne (Switzerland), Indian Institute of Science Training and Analysis (IISER) – Pune (India), Nirmalagiri School in Kannur (India), and the Kerala College of Fisheries and Ocean Research in Cochin (India).

Assistant Professor on the Kerala College of Fisheries and Ocean Research, Rajeev Raghavan, who was a part of the research, stated the popularity of Aenigmachannidae as a brand new household of bony fishes comes six years after the outline of Kryptoglanidae, one other distinctive household of freshwater fish endemic to Kerala.

“The presence of two distinctive endemic households of freshwater fish in a small area like Kerala is unparalleled, and signifies the distinctive variety and endemicity of fishes on this a part of the world,” stated Raghavan.

The gollum snakehead, Aenigmachanna gollum and the mahabali snakehead, Aenigmachanna mahabali are recognized to happen within the aquifers and subterranean channels linked to paddy fields and dug-out wells in Malappuram and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala.

Whereas Aenigmachanna gollum was found by pure probability in a rice discipline not lengthy after the devastating floods that raged in Kerala in August 2018, Aenigmachanna mahabali was found opportunistically from a dug-out properly.

“The aquifers of Kerala have a wealth of enigmatic and relic fauna, the range of which we’re solely slowly uncovering.

However subterranean ecosystems are underneath excessive ranges of menace as a consequence of indiscriminate floor water extraction and air pollution, and introduction of alien species within the dugout wells.

Because of this, we could also be dropping distinctive habitats and species a lot earlier than they’re recognized to science” stated Neelesh Dahanukar, Analysis Scientist on the IISER, Pune, who co-authored the paper.

In response to scientists, the subterranean ecosystems of Kerala harbour a few of the planet’s most weird species resembling Horaglanis krishnaii, Kryptoglanis shajii, Aenigmachanna gollum and Monopterus digressus.

Many of those species are blind, pigment-less, and have peculiar morphological characters which might be in any other case not seen in species occurring in floor waters.

Round 10 such enigmatic species of subterranean fish are at present recognized from Kerala, the scientists stated.

“All through my profession I’ve labored on many unusual fishes, however the Gollum Snakehead is well the weirdest of all of them.

If I had been requested whether or not such a fish existed within the Western Ghats or wherever on the planet, I’d have stated, no approach.

But right here it’s,” remarked Ralf Britz, primarily based on the Senckenberg Museum at Dresden, Germany, who led this paper.

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