World’s Largest Blind Subterranean Fish Discovered in Meghalaya’s Caves, Says PM Narendra Modi During Mann Ki Baat
World’s Largest Blind Subterranean Fish (Photo Credits: DD News)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during Mann Ki Baat said that biologists have recently discovered a fish species which is believed to be the biggest among the cave-dwelling species. It is blind and the world's largest known subterranean fish in a cave in northeastern India. According to a recently released research, the 'troglomorphic fish' was discovered last year. In an abstract of the study, scientist says, "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." Gollum, a New Snakehead Fish Species Found in Kerala.

The research further says, "It has always been assumed that cave fishes exceeding 350 mm would be most unlikely on resource grounds but this has now been shown to be spectacularly wrong. 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 cavefish by at least an order of magnitude."

Blind Fish in Meghalayan Caves:

The fish is anatomically similar to Tor Putitora, an endangered Asian fish, which is also known as the Putitor Mahseer or Golden Mahseer fish. However, the cavefish discovered in Meghalaya differs from the Tor Putitora in its "depigmentation, lack of eyes and in its subterranean habitat". The international team of researchers published their study in the British Cave Research Association’s Cave and Karst Science.

Daniel Harries, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Heriot-Watt University in Scotland and the study’s lead author, told Fox News that the size of the fish is significant. He said that it is significant that the fish remained undectected for so long. He was quoted as saying, "It was generally assumed that since food is scarce in caves then animals like fish would be limited to small body size and occur in relatively low populations. But here we have a fish that is more than 10 times bulkier than other species of cavefish and we probably saw around 100 individuals in this one cave. This throws up all sorts of questions such as what food source is sustaining them. We don’t have any clear answers for this yet but it is all very intriguing."

He explained, "Systematic exploration of the Meghalayan caves has been underway for almost 30 years and hundreds of kilometres of cave passages have been explored and mapped. Nevertheless, this very large cavefish remained undocumented until last year. This raises questions about what else might have been overlooked in the caves."