The saga began in early 2018, when researcher Rajeev Raghavan, a study co-author and fish researcher at Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies, spotted a post on Indian social media from a person who found and photographed an odd fish retrieved from their backyard well. Britz says the family’s common name is fitting because “everyone who sees a photo of the fish is somehow reminded of a dragon.”. The Gollum snakehead could well be a living fossil. The name red or redline snakehead is commonly applied to juveniles of this species in the aquarium fish trade. An estimated six million wells draw from this underground reserve, Britz says. New Delhi: A team of scientists have determined that a species of snakehead fish discovered in the Western Ghats in Kerala belongs to a unique family distinct from fish species found in the world. It is possibly highly restricted in distribution. Otherwise people keep calling to meet me in person!” says Abdul Sami, 34, with a la The genus Channa is native to Asia and the genus Parachanna to Africa. Subterranean Fish Named ‘Gollum’ Belongs to a New Family The freshwater fish belongs to a never-before-described taxonomic family, making it … Watching them can be mesmerizing, Britz says—they move “like a veil in the wind.”. And officials are warning anyone who comes into contact with the … It is the only genus in the family Aenigmachannidae, or dragon snakeheads. “In a sense, it is the platypus of the snakehead world. After all, scientists discovered it only last year. “It also signals that new light needs to be shone on the other fishes of Kerala that seem to live in aquifers, such as Horaglanis and Kryptoglanis. Their subterranean natures may have helped, says Pethiyagoda. However, at just around 10 centimetres long, the Gollum snakehead is barely a threat. Dragon snakeheads—strange new underground fish—discovered in India, https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/10/new-fish-family-dragon-snakeheads-found-india.html, researcher found a second species in that genus as well, Related: World’s largest cavefish discovered in India. This takes us back to an era when only two supercontinents existed in the world. This, along with the care they shower on their babies (such as fiercely guarding their floating eggs and mouthbrooding), has made them a very successful group. It possibly evolved at least 109 million years ago (when the last dinosaurs still roamed the world), after the Indian plate drifted away from the supercontinent of Gondwana. There, late at night, they found Gollum snakeheads surfacing into a flooded rice paddy. “The presence of two unique endemic families of freshwater fishes in Kerala is unparalleled, and indicates the exceptional diversity and endemicity of fishes in this part of the world.”, ‘Annihilation through politeness’: Why Rahul Gandhi’s TV interview with Arnab Goswami went belly-up, The Indian judiciary didn’t suddenly decline in the Modi years – it was always broken, Supreme Court agrees to examine if it can decide on Emergency’s constitutional validity. This new family is also ancient. Why such living fossils survive without diversifying much remains a mystery. These unique traits include a shortened swim bladder and fewer vertebrae with ribs, features that show the dragon snakeheads are less specialized than regular snakeheads. The family also lacks a structure called a suprabranchial organ, which allows Channidae snakeheads to breathe air. Seer fish, kingfish, bluefin trevally, snakehead fish and yellow catfish are some of the popular items. Unlike many fish, they … Chennai-native Om Prakash, of ‘Om is fishing’, who works with a BPO in Bengaluru, specialises in Malabar snakehead (vaaha), a “vulnerable species in the IUCN Red List”, found only in Kerala. Also, a Scientist named Ralf Britz says, that this fish is the most exciting discovery of fishing world. Channa (snakeheads of Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia) Parachanna (African snakeheads) In the summer of 2002 and again in late spring 2004, Channa argus, the northern snakehead, generated national media attention when anglers caught this fish in a pond in Maryland and, more recently, in the Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia. Researchers have discovered a new family of eel-like fish, named dragon snakeheads, which live in underground waters in southern India. To find out, Britz, Raghavan and their colleagues deconstructed the body parts of the fish. It contains two species, both of which are largely restricted to subterranean habitats in southwestern India, namely in the Western Ghats foothills in the state of Kerala. A computer-rendered image of the skeleton of the Gollum snakehead. Studies of the fish’s anatomy help show that this species (and its sister species) belong to a previously unknown taxonomic family, Aenigmachannidae. Now, scientists have found that it is genetically distinct from other snakehead fish worldwide and sports so many unique features that it warrants its very own family, Aenigmachannidae. Common snakeheads fish curry is a delicacy in Kerala and are in great demand in the domestic market. The Gollum snakehead warranted its very own snakehead family, Aenigmachannidae. This has lowered the water table and could imperil some of the newfound obscure species that live there. Taxonomic families are often large and diverse; For example, the human family, Hominidae, includes chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. These strange, long-bodied fish, which dwell in aquifers of porous rock, are rarely seen, only coming to the surface after flooding from heavy rains. “It’s my cameraman’s number that I have given on my Facebook page. The fish varieties generally featured in the vlogs are grouper, red snapper, rohu, catla, king fish, mangrove jack, barracuda, barramundi, sting ray, different varieties of snakehead, among others. Britz says it’s unclear why the species have these traits, but suggests it may be because they are not exclusively subterranean. Snakeheads (or channids, family Channidae) are predatory freshwater dwellers. Researchers have discovered a new family of eel-like fish, named dragon snakeheads, which live in underground waters in southern India. Upper image ... (Kalimantan). Watch: How many of the most popular music videos of 2020 on YouTube have you watched? The genus Channa is native to Asia and the genus Parachanna to Africa. “What makes it really special is that it has an unexpectedly large number of primitive characters in relation to Channidae,” wrote lead author Britz in an email to Mongabay-India. Johnson likens the dragon snakeheads to a primitive eel-like fish named Protoanguilla palau, discovered in an undersea cave in Palau, which he helped describe in a 2012 paper. 2020 National Geographic Partners, LLC. (Related: World’s largest cavefish discovered in India.). The drifting landmass, therefore, was already home to Aenigmachannas (where it must have lived alongside some of the last dinosaurs), and isolation due to continental breakups probably gave rise to these unique, ancient fish. Scientists find that the Gollum snakehead – a small fish that dwells in underground water systems in Kerala – belongs to a new but ancient family of bony fishes, Aenigmachannidae. At 109 million years ago, the Indian plate had already broken away from Gondwana and begun drifting north towards Eurasia. The Gollum snakehead, named after the subterranean character in Lord of the Rings, is one of two species in a newfound taxonomic family of fishes. Dragon snakeheads also have eyes and a reddish brown pigmentation—traits uncommon in subterranean fish, many of which are white and eyeless. But having a snakehead from a subterranean habitat is an exciting find. Tolkien, the Aenigmachanna gollum was studied by scientists from India, Germany, the … More distributional and ecological information about the fish is lacking. It tastes awesome with rice and idlis. In Malaysia and Singapore, they are known locally as the toman, while in Indonesia they are called gabus or haruan (not to be confused with another species of smaller snakehead known as the common snakehead also called haruan), and are cultured in fish ponds and reservoirs as game fish because they put up a strong fight when hooked. The fish varieties generally featured in the vlogs are grouper, red snapper, rohu, catla, king fish, mangrove jack, barracuda, barramundi, sting ray, different varieties of snakehead, among others. What it is likely to be, is threatened. Snakehead Gollum fish was discovered in Kerala and named after the famous character from The Lord of the Rings. The team estimated the age of the family using fish fossils and simulation algorithms. Recently, a new study conducted by scientists in Kerala found that the Snakehead Gollum is different from the rest of its fellow Snakehead fish. But when Britz and his colleagues performed further research on the anatomy and genetics of these fishes, he found they belong in a new family entirely. An initial study, published in Zootaxa in May 2019, identified the fish as a new species and genus, named Aenigmachanna gollum—the Gollum snakehead. “I can’t begin to understand why,” Johnson says. His genetic analysis shows they may have diverged from their nearest relatives, snakeheads in the family Channidae, before Africa and India separated and spread apart 120 million years ago, Britz says. Mysterious snakehead fish from Kerala found. Though the team went on to classify the fish as a new species, under a new genus (Aenigmachanna), they retained it in the only existing family of snakeheads (Channidae). This family includes only two species, one of which is named the Gollum snakehead, after the subterranean Lord of the Rings character. Rainbow snakehead (Channa bleheri) © 1996-2015 National Geographic Society, © 2015- Dragon Snakeheads is a fish, which belongs to family of eel-like fish. All rights reserved. A curry made with this fish and tapioca is a delicacy in Kerala. Like the dragon snakeheads, this previously unknown family of eels has ancient traits that have been lost in its relatives, and it has changed relatively little over time. “Aenigmachanna is by far the most important freshwater fish to be discovered in the 30 years I have been a student of South Asian fishes,” commented scientist Rohan Pethiyagoda who studies snakeheads in Sri Lanka, and was not involved in the study published last week in Scientific Reports. Another breakthrough came when Britz and others visited a farmer’s field north of Kochi, a town in Kerala. The giant snakehead is also a good fish to eat, and is often served in Chinese restaurants. This air-breathing trick has enabled one species, the northern snakehead, to spread far and become an invasive nuisance in North America and elsewhere. They used a nano-CT scanner to take 3D photographs of its skeleton and internal organs and compared these with the features of 14 other closely-related species (including snakehead and ray-finned fishes). Get latest info on Fish Seeds, suppliers, manufacturers, wholesalers, traders, wholesale suppliers with Fish … The dishes that use striped snakehead this are eaten with rice are very popular in Bangladesh and West Bengal. Genetic analyses (of gene fragments as well as whole mitochondrial genomes) also point to this pattern: that the Gollum snakehead forms a distinct “sister” lineage alongside other snakeheads and not with or under them. Emperor snakehead (Channa marulioides) The Emperor is capable of reaching 65cm/26”, rendering it suitable only for the species tank, or at very best with other large tank mates — although a very large tank would be needed anyway! With its long, scaly body and delicate, veil-like fins, the Gollum snakehead captured quite some attention when discovered last year in south India. Northern snakehead fish This month, an invasive northern snakehead fish was found in a pond in Georgia. Could the Gollum snakehead turn out to be entirely different from other snakeheads? It flaunted some odd features: a uniform, cinnamon brown and long, eel-like body, unlike other snakeheads. There are more than 50 species of Channidae snakeheads, which live in streams and lakes throughout Asia and Africa. It has been found that the fish is not just unique for its delicate scale like fins but is also a living fossil. With its long, scaly body and delicate, veil-like fins, the Gollum snakehead captured quite some attention when discovered last year in south India. Explained: A 100 million-year-old fish in Kerala, named after a character of the Lord of the Rings Meet Aenigmachanna gollum, a dragon snakehead fish that lives in underground aquifers, and which first announced its surfacing in social media posts in 2018 Astonishingly, the Gollum snakehead differed in five of the six main features that define channids. Researchers have discovered a new family of eel-like fish, named dragon snakeheads, which live in underground waters in southern India. These primitive fish are a type of “living fossil” and may have diverged from their nearest relatives more than a hundred million years ago. These primitive fish … There is some justification for calling it a snakehead ‘living fossil’ and it is this unique combination of primitive characters and a few weird derived features that lead us to consider coming up with a new family for it.”. “It is in some ways a freshwater coelacanth,” says Pethiyagoda. This kind of fish prefers to live in deep into the sea. Who is Ragini Tiwari whose video threatening protesting farmers has gone viral? Find here details of companies selling Fish Seeds, for your purchase requirements. The fish, for instance, does not sport long canine teeth nor a suprabranchial chamber as channids usually do. Britz travelled to India after Raghavan and other colleagues had collected more specimens, to scientifically describe the fish. Besides, the restaurant serves freshwater fish dishes like fried lake fishes, morass peera or needlefish cooked in coconut, shrimp fry, lobster, fried … Unlike many fish, they can thrive in low-oxygen waters thanks to a special breathing organ (the suprabranchial chamber) that allows them to survive on swallowed air. This fish is best kept in water at 24-28°C/75-82°F, pH 6.0-7.0 and GH to 10. Discovering a new family of fish—the taxonomic category above genus and species—is very uncommon, says study leader Ralf Britz, an ichthyologist at Senckenberg Natural History Collections, part of the Museum of Zoology in Dresden, Germany. Yet when intense volcanic activity may have killed even the mighty dinosaurs over the millions of years that followed, how did tiny Aenigmachannas survive? The northern snakehead can grow up to … These primitive fish are a type of “living fossil” and may have diverged from their nearest relatives more than a hundred million years ago. ‘National Jiju’: Singer Nick Jonas reacts to nickname earned in India for marrying Priyanka Chopra, Watch: Singer Lucky Ali sings his famous song ‘O Sanam’ at an impromptu event in Goa, ‘Love jihad’: UP officials deny 22-year-old Hindu woman suffered miscarriage in protection home, Watch: How the side berth in air-conditioned trains is being modified for greater comfort. By plotting all these morphological differences (and similarities) between the 15 fish species, the team concluded that the Gollum snakehead – whose many features are far more “primitive” than other snakeheads – must have split from other snakeheads long before the Asian and African species that we see today came into being. Kerala has the largest number of these vloggers, followed by Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra. But questions still remained. Native range: This snakehead has a markedly disjunctive distribution. Too successful, in some cases. In all, scientists have discovered 10 species of subterranean fish in the aquifers there that provide water for millions of people. The area where the fish live, the Western Ghats of southern India, is a biodiversity hot spot. A snakehead fish discovered in Malappuram in Kerala from the Channidae family of predatory freshwater dwellers was named Gollum, a character in ‘The Lord of the Rings’. Aenigmachanna is a genus of ray-finned fish in the order Ananbantiformes. “We think this is the most exciting discovery in the fish world of the last decade,” says Britz, lead author of a study published recently in Scientific Reports. – Sea Fish Found in India. Its swim bladder – an internal gas-filled organ that helps bony fish stay afloat in water – is far shorter too. It turns out that the Aenigmachannids split from other snakeheads at least around 109 million years ago. MANGALURU: A group of Indian and British scientists have found a mysterious new species of ‘snakehead fish’ lurking in the subterranean waters of Kerala. The dragon snakeheads have “a whole series of primitive characteristics,” and are rightly called “living fossils,” says David Johnson, an ichthyologist at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., who wasn’t involved in the paper. How a researcher found a snow trout near the Thar desert – and why it’s vital to study it further, Watch: Humpback whale spotted in New York’s Hudson River in the USA, Watch: Delhi Police adds yet another layer of barricades on state borders to keep farmers out, Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies. 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