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New Eel Species Found on Indian Coasts of the Bay of Bengal

15 September 2016

INDIA - Scientists from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered at least two new species of eel fish, within last ten months, from the Bay of Bengal along the West Bengal coast, writes Basudev Mahapatra.

The most recent discovery is the species named Gymnothorax indicus, a slender-bodied, about 30 cm long, eel. The fish is edible.

Caught in a trawl net in northern Bay of Bengal, about 70 km off the coast, the particular species of eel was studied by the scientists of ZSI.

It has 194 vertebrae with the dorsal fin having a black margin, according to the scientists.

“In a fresh condition, body of this species is uniformly pale brown without spots or patterns and he eye rim is pale,” according to ZSI scientist Anil Mohapatra.

“We have proposed that the newly discovered species be called Indian unpatterened moray,” he added.

During the end of 2015, scientists from the same organisation discovered another species of the eel variety with 134 vertebral bones.

Named Gymnothorax mishrai, it was 32.4 cm long, plain brown in colour without any body pattern.

Collected from a depth of about 22 metres from the sea near a fishing harbour, scientists named it the Bengal moray eel.

While eels are mostly found at the bottom of rivers and seas, both of these species were found at a depth between 20 and 35 metres in the sea.

A delicacy in countries like Japan and consumed mostly in coastal India, there are about 1,000 species of eels around the globe while India has about 125 varieties of it.

As fishery and marine resources depleting due to over-exploitation, discovery of such species is important for future food security, scientists believe.

TheFishSite News Desk

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