Guwahati: In the deep, dark caves of Meghalaya, a new cave fish, presumably the largest in the world, has been discovered. Almost 10 times heavier than any known species and much bigger — about a foot and a half long — the near blind species looks like a new species in evolution.
According to National Geographic, the creature is basically blind and eyeless, though it has some ability to sense light.
In February last year, the subterranean fish was found in a small underground cavity in Um Ladaw Cave, more than 300 feet below the surface in East Khasi Hills.
The largest individual seen in the cave was in excess of 400 mm in standard length making it, by far, the largest known subterranean fish found to date. Initial investigations indicate it is a close anatomical match to tor putitora but differs in its depigmentation, lack of eyes and in its subterranean habitat, biologolist Daniel Harries, co-author of a journal Cave and Karst Science, and a hobbyist cave explorer and marine biologist at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, was quoted as saying by media reports.
Further, it said, “It has always been assumed that cave fish 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 cave fish by at least an order of magnitude.”
The cave where the creature was found is accessible only in the dry winter seasons, as during monsoons, the area gets flooded making to impossible to enter.