From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Aenigmachanna Gollum
Mains level : NA
Scientists have discovered a new family of bony fish from the Western Ghats and named it Aenigmachannidae.
A stand-alone species being mentioned in the news for the first time (and that too from Southern India) find their way into the prelims. Make special note here. Usually, note the species and its habitat location (IUCN status if available), in the purview of a generic prelims question.
- Aenigmachanna Gollum has a surprisingly large number of primitive characters, and detailed molecular phylogenetic analyses including of its Mitochondrial DNA suggested an ancient separation from Channidae.
- Many such species were earlier found in the aquifers of Kerala.
- Many of these species are blind, pigment-less, and have peculiar morphological characters that are otherwise not seen in species occurring in surface waters.
Significance of the discovery
- The presence of two unique endemic families of freshwater fish in a small region like Kerala is unparalleled and indicates the exceptional diversity and endemicity of fishes in this part of the world.
- The members of Aenigmachannidae are “living fossils” and comprise an ancient Gondwanan lineage that survived the break-up of the supercontinent and the northward drift of the Indian subcontinent.