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In a recent expedition in northeast India, the world’s largest cave fish has been discovered in the caves of Meghalaya. The fish has been discovered in the Jaintia Hills and is by far the largest troglobiotic fish known to mankind. It is nearly five times the average length for all known subterranean fishes till date.
Currently, almost 250 species of subterranean fish are known to exist on Earth. The subterranean species—existing under the Earth’s surface—are generally a few inches long owing to lesser amount of food to eat.
However, the current discovery has brought forward a cave fish, in northeastern India, that is much bigger than the average size. The recently discovered species is more than a foot lengthwise and weighs more than 10 times than any known species.
According to a recent study, the cave fish was discovered in Meghalaya in February 2019. "These animals live in environments that are often extremely nutrient-limited because of the absence of light and primary production. Consequently most species of subterranean fishes are of relatively small size, in order to survive on limited food resources,” the study says.
The new species is similar to Tor Putitora, a surface-dwelling, endangered fish species. However, the study points out that it is highly likely that the species are different from Tor Putitora due to isolated evolution in the cave. The evolutionary process of the new species can be traced through its lack of eyes and melanin pigmentation.
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