Rakthamichtys Mumba: A new species of swamp eel belonging to the genus Rakthamicthys that is endemic to India was discovered in a well in Mumbai.
- This new species of blind freshwater eel was discovered by four scientists namely, Anil Mohapatra, Tejas Thackeray, Praveenraj Jayasimhan and Annam Pavan Kumar from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
- It was found in a 40-foot deep well on the premises of a blind school at Jogeshwari West in 2019.
- This is the first such discovered species from Maharashtra and Northern western Ghats.
- Scientists had collected the hypogean species a couple of years ago. They continued performing on it till now.
- As per scientists, eel is a blind freshwater hypogean.
- This is the fifth species from the genus to be described from India.
- The article ‘Rakthamichthys Mumba, a new species of Hypogean eel (Teleostei: Synbranchidae) from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India’ was published in September 2021 in Aqua International Journal of Ichthyology.
About Blind Eel:
- Species are named ‘Rakthamichtys mumba’– the Mumbai blind eel, to pay tribute to the town it had been found in.
Note: The species name Mumba refers to the locality in Mumbai. The word ‘Mumba’ derives its roots from the Marathi language, which honours Mumba Aai, a deity worshipped by inhabitants of the city.
- This is the fifth species from the genus to have originated from India.
- Unlike other species of its genus, this newly discovered freshwater bright-pink coloured specie lacks eyes, fins and scales, has jaws equal in forward extent, different gill aperture, crescentic-shaped cephalic.
- This is the first completely blind subterranean freshwater fish species
- The blind eel has a genetic distance of 21.6 – 22.8% as compared to other known species of Rakthamicthys genus.
- Rakthamichthys is a genus of swamp eels that are endemic to India.
- Three species (R. digressus, R. roseni, and R. indicus) are known from the Western Ghats and while one (R. rongsaw) is known from Northeast India.
- All species live underground, with three species being troglobitic in nature while one specie having a fossorial lifestyle.
- All species display adaptations to this lifestyle, including a bright red coloration and highly reduced eyes.