New Species of Eel, Gymnothorax mishrai discovered along West Bengal coast

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Who: New Species of Eel, Gymnothorax mishrai
Where: Coast of Digha in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district
What: Discovered

New species of eel named Gymnothorax mishrai was discovered by Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) along the coast of Digha in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district.

The discovery of the new species of Bengal moray eel, which is new to science, was jointly published in the journal Zootaxa by Anil Mohapatra, along David G. Smith and Dipanjan Ray.

About Gymnothorax mishrai
• The species is 32.4 cm long, brown in colour and the body is without any patterns.
• It is a marine species and is also edible.
• It is distinct from other species described in the group Gymnothorax, this species of moray eel has 134 vertebral bones.
• Due to presence of less than 150 vertebral bones makes it categorized among short, brown, patterned moray eels.
• This particularly species was collected from a depth of about 22 metres.

The specimen of the species was collected from fishing boats at a fish landing centre in Shankarpur.

About Eels
Eels are elongated fish or snake-like fishes with fins and gills, found mostly in the shallow waters of the ocean and burrow into sand, mud, or amongst rocks. Eels swim by generating body waves which travel the length of their bodies. They can swim backwards by reversing the direction of the wave.

There are 800 species of eels found across the world and India is home to 150-200 of these fish species. The heaviest true eel is the European conger.