What is Ophichthus Suryai?


01:04 PM

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Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India's Gopalpur regional centre recently discovered a new species of snake eel named 'Ophichthus Suryai' in Odisha.

About Ophichthus Suryai:

  • It is a new species of snake eel discovered from Odisha.
  • The new species can be distinguished from its closely allied congeners Ophichthus alleni, Ophichthus zophistius, and Ophichthus altipennis, and other members in this genus by
    • having the dorsal fin origin (DFO) just above or slightly anterior to the gill opening
    • its unique vertebral count and teeth patterns consisting of multiple rows on both maxilla and mandible

What is a Snake eel?

  • A snake eel is any of numerous marine fishes in the family Ophichthidae (order Anguilliformes).
  • The eels are often mistaken for sea snakes by humans.
  • Usually, the eels are found in warm, tropical waters.
  • Most species live and hide in material at the bottom of rivers or the sea.
  • A snake eel can survive at depths of more than 2,000 feet (around 600 meters), but often live in water much shallower than this.
  • The size of a snake eels varies greatly, depending on the species, with some growing as long as 10 feet (about 3 meters).
  • If the cross section of a snake eel were examined, it would be almost circular.
  • Other features include a scaleless body, small eyes, and a pointed snout
  • A snake eel’s diet consists mainly of small fish. They are also known to feed off crustaceans.

Q1: What is the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)?

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was established on 1st July, 1916 to promote survey, exploration and research leading to the advancement in our knowledge of various aspects of exceptionally rich life of the erstwhile ´ British Indian Empire ´ . The survey has its genesis in the establishment of the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.

Source: ZSI scientists discover a new species of snake eel in Odisha