New Species of Small, Blind Fish Living Without Light Found in Southern India

Researchers and scientists found a small and unique fish in Southern India, showing that the said species survived in extreme environments without light.

Detecting and monitoring small fish species have been the main concern of many scientists and environmentalists.

The world of oceans, lakes and aquifers is rich in mysteries, and discoveries researchers have been trying to unravel.

Without identifying species, monitoring would be challenging. There is a possibility that the species will become endangered and extinct. As a result, early monitoring has been a key for the successful monitoring.

Aquifers in Southern India

Researchers from India and Germany collaborated to unearth the rare small fish in local aquifers.

The research was published in Vertebrate Zoology. It is also available to read on the website.

According to the report, lateritic aquifers are present in parts of Southern India, which serves as a home for rare fishes. In addition, the study noted it would focus on catfish Horaglanis.

Also Read: Unique Catch: Rare Blue Lobster Discovered by Fisherman Near Blackhead Lighthouse 

Catfish Horaglonis refers to the genus of catfishes. They are considered blind and pigmentless, living in the habitat of aquifers.

According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the water in the aquifer moves slowly, consisting of permeable rock and rock structures.

The habitat is small and complete darkness. Unlike other bodies of water, it has fewer nutrients and oxygen, making it more difficult for aquatic animals to thrive. But not for the new species discovered.

Meanwhile, the report added that 10% of fish species thrive in aquifers.

The researchers investigated the laterite rock layers in Kerala in Southern India to observe the new fish species.

Community contribution

The research was conducted based on the citizen-science approach.

According to the report, communities and locals in Southern India were given workshops and training to help with the research.

The idea is the community in the area would be significant to discover evasive fish species. The cooperation of locals would contribute to conservation efforts.

With community collaboration, the researchers noted that they managed to observe 47 new sites with 65 new genetic sequences.

Horaglanis populi

The success of community efforts revealed that the catfish Horaglanis is endemic to Kerala.

Unlike other horaglanis species, the discovery showed that the new species could measure about 32 millimeters.

The study added that the new fish species has a blood-red appearance and is blind (no eyes at all).

Researchers named the distinct species Horalanis populi. The name derives from the contributions of communities that helped with the research.

According to a report in 2012, a new species of blind catfish was discovered in Kerala. The new catfish was called the Horaglanis abdulkalami.

Ultimately, discovering new species has been essential for protecting and monitoring.

With a smaller population and no conservation efforts, the small fish species can be neglected and extinct.

Related Article: Decline of Rusty Crayfish Detects in Northern Wisconsin that Can Benefit Fish, Water Plants, 33-Year Study Reveals

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