Pangio Bhujia: New eel-loach species discovered in Kerala

Researchers from Kerala have discovered new species of eel-loach named ‘Pangio bhujia’ in Kozhikode district of state. It is unique species of miniature well-dwelling subterranean fish. It is the first species of eel-loach in the world that has been discovered to be living in subterranean environments. Eel-loaches are generally found in fast-flowing streams in the south and the south-east Asia.

About Pangio bhujia

Discovery: It was discovered living in a six-metre-deep homestead well used for potable and irrigation pur­pose, as well as from channel connecting pond to an adjacent paddy field in the village of Cherinjal in Kozhikode.

Name and Genus: It has been named ‘Pangio bhujia’, due to its resemblance to the North Indian snack, bhujia. It belongs to genus Pangio.

Characteristics: It is approximately 3 centimetres long and pinkish-red in colour. It resides in purest waters of deep subterranean aquifers. It has several unique characters including absence of dorsal fin, which has never been encountered in genus Pangio to which this new species belongs to. It is also unique among order Cypriniformes (an order of ray-finned fish, including the carps, minnows, loaches, and relatives) and highly unusual even among teleost or bony fishes generally.

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