New freshwater fish species discovered in Kerala

A new freshwater fish species has been discovered in Kerala, a state blessed with freshwater resources, scientists said in Kochi.

This fish belonging to the subterranean snakehead species was found in the well of a house in Thiruvalla in Pathanamthitta district last year, they said.

The newly discovered fish, a cousin of the well-known 'varaal' and 'cher meen', is characterised by an elongated body, small size, a very large mouth, and most remarkably, the fin rays of the pectoral fin being greatly elongated as filamentous extensions.

It is hypothesised that these extensions may be sensory in nature and used by the fish to find its way in the dark by touch.

Researchers at the Peninsular and Marine Fish Genetic Resources Centre ofICAR-National Bureau of Fish Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBFGR) in Kochi have described the species as Aenigmachanna Mahabali.