Scientists from have discovered Gymnothorax indicus (proposed name Indian unpatterened moray), a new species of eel (a snake-like fish) in the northern Bay of Bengal region along the West Bengal coast.
It was discovered after it was collected in a trawl net by fishermen in northern Bay of Bengal, about 70 km off the coast.
About Gymnothorax indicus
- The ell species Gymnothorax indicus is slender-bodied. It was found at a depth of 35 metres in the sea.
- It is about one feet-long and edible. It has 194 vertebrae. Its dorsal fin has a black margin.
- The body of the eel is uniformly pale brown without spots or patterns. Its eye rim is pale.
Significance of discovery: Scientists believe that these newly discovered eel species may contribute to food security in the future.
Eaten in coastal areas
Eels are found mostly at the bottom of rivers and seas. Globally, about 1,000 species of eels have been identified. In India their number is around 125. Eels are local delicacy in many countries like Japan. But consumption of eels in India is limited to coastal areas.
Rich marine biodiversity in Bay of Bengal
- The coastal region of West Bengal adjoining areas of Bay of Bengal are the rich marine biodiversity. Over the past few years, it has yielded two new species of fish.
- In 2015, Gymnothorax mishrai (Bengal moray eel), a short brown unpatterned moray eel was discovered.
- Scientists also had discovered another new species of Haplogenys bengalensis (Indian velvetchin), an edible marine fish from the same area.