Scientists Discovered A New Species Of Eel In the Coast Of Digha Shankarpur
A new species of eel was found along the coast of Digha in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district. The species, new to science, named Gymnothorax mishrai, is 32.4 cm long, brown in colour and the body is without any patterns.
“This newly discovered eel is a marine species. The fish is also edible. The specimen was collected from fishing boats at a fish-landing centre located at Shankarpur, West Bengal,” Anil Mohapatra, scientist of the ZSI and at expert in marine fishes told
According to Mr. Mohaptara, finding a new species of marine fish is a quite a rare and welcome development in India and particularly from West Bengal where there is overexploitation of both fresh water and marine fish.
Distinct from other species described in the group Gymnothorax, this species of moray eel has 134 vertebral bones. Since the number of vertebral bones is less than 150, this particular species is categorised among short, brown, patterned moray eels.
Eels are snake-like fishes with fins and gills, found mostly at bottom of rivers and seas.
This particularly species was collected from a depth of about 22 metres. There are 800 species of eels found across the world and India is home to 150-200 of these fish species.
Though considered a delicacy in many countries like Japan, the consumption of eels in India is limited to the coastal areas.
“We are happy about this discovery that along with adding a new species to our biodiversity it will add to the natural food resources of the country,” ZSI director-in-charge Kailash Chandra said.
Mr. Mohapatra along David G. Smith and Dipanjan Ray, who jointly published a paper about the new species in the journal Zootaxa, have proposed that the new species be called Bengal moray eel.
Two years ago, scientists had discovered another new species of edible marine fish Haplogenys bengalensis, from the same area which indicates the rich marine biodiversity of the coastal region.
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