largest subterranean fish

Largest Subterranean fish discovered in Meghalaya cave

Scientists have discovered the world’s largest known subterranean fish in a cave in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills.

  1. The “troglomorphic fish” was discovered last year, according to recently released research. The largest individual seen in the cave was in excess of 400 mm [15.8 inches] in standard length making it, by far, the largest known subterranean fish found to date,” scientists explain in an abstract of the study.
  2. The discovery of the blind fish challenges previously held theories on fish dwelling in subterranean locations. The discovery of the Meghalayan fish, they say, puts paid to the long-held assumption that the paucity of food in caves limits body length to 35 cm or less.
  3. The fish discovered in Meghalaya in February 2019 is not only substantially longer than the longest previously known species but is considerably more bulky with a body mass likely to exceed that of the next largest cave fish by at least an order of magnitude.”
  4. The fish is similar anatomically to the Tor Putitora, an endangered Asian fish, which is also known as the Putitor Mahseer or Golden Mahseer fish. However, the cave fish discovered in Meghalaya differs from the Tor Putitora in its “depigmentation, lack of eyes and in its subterranean habitat,” according to the new research.The newfound fish is undoubtedly closely related to a surface-dwelling fish known as the golden mahseer .The only observable differences between the two animals, he explains, are that the cave fish lack pigmentation—appearing a white, almost translucent color—and their eyes are poorly developed or even non-existent.The cave creatures are also smaller than golden mahseers, an endangered fish that can grow to many feet in length.Therefore,the newfound Indian fish, could be an example of “speciation and evolution in progress
  5. Like most other troglobites, the creature is basically blind and eyeless, though it apparently has some ability to sense light.
  6. The fish,  may still be in the process of evolving to be a separate new species and could present scientists with a unique opportunity to understand this evolutionary process.
  7. Before this discovery, the two longest known subterranean fish species, both narrow and ribbon-like, are the blind swamp eel  (“chest-serpent from hell”), native to Mexico’s Yucátan, and the blind cave eel , from western Australia

Meghalaya Caves:

There are many caves in the region due to the abundant karst and limestone, which can be carved by rainwater. And there’s a lot of it—the state is one of the rainiest places on Earth.Meghalaya is home to the longest natural cave in India known as Krem Liat Prah.

Some of the famous Caves are:

  • Mawsmai Cave. Mawsmai Cave is a fully-lit, rugged limestone cave located in the village of Mawsmai, Cherrapunjee of Meghalaya. …
  • Krem Mawkhyrdop or Krem Mawmluh.
  • Krem Dam.
  • Krem Lymput.
  • Krem Liat Prah.

Northeast monsoon and El Nino studied , with the help of rock formations in Meghalaya.

Researchers last year, studied The  stalagmite rock formations in a Mawsmai cave near Cherrapunji in Meghalaya .New evidence was found suggesting the possible influence of the state of the ocean waters in the faraway Pacific on India’s winter rainfall.It records the connection between winter rainfall amounts in northeast India and climatic conditions in the Pacific Ocean.On studying the composition of these stalagmites, scientists deduced the amount of rainfall that could have happened over the caves in the past.They also studied if the water was a result of local rainfall, or had flown in from a different place.With this, the local variations in rainfall in the past were estimated and this was correlated with old ocean records of the Pacific Ocean.

  • North-eastern monsoon is vital for several regions in the Northeast and India’s eastern coast.
  • It gives more than 50% of the annual rains in coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, TN, south interior Karnataka, and Kerala.
  • Winter rainfall following weak monsoon years in India can alleviate water stress for farmers.
  • The study gains significance, in this context, as it could help in predicting the winter rainfall and prepare for rainfall variations.

Important Topics Prelims 2020

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