World’s largest cave fish found in Meghalaya
The world’s largest species of cave fish measuring over 40cm or around one and a half feet in length have been found inside a remote cave in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills.
The fish, described recently in the journal Cave and Karst Science, may still be in the process of evolving to be a separate new species. The finding raises many questions, such as how the fish maintain their body size, what they feed on, and how they’ve adapted to live in these caves, which are extremely extensive and deep, many of which haven’t yet been explored.
Like most other troglobites, the creature is basically blind and eyeless, though it apparently has some ability to sense light.
The cave can only be visited in the winter dry season; during the monsoons, the whole area is flooded and impossible to access.
There are 250 known species of fish found under the earth’s surface. As they live in a nutrient-limited environment most of these species are small—195 of them have a mean length of 8.5cm. The only two species, which exceed 30cm, are eel-like and have very thin bodies.
Relative to their body size, fish have small brains compared to most other animals.