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Image of the Day: As Slippery As

A new species of swamp eel has been discovered in India.

Sep 25, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

ABOVE: The newly identified swamp eel (Monopterus rongsaw)
DR RACHUNLIU G. KAMEI

Digging through the soils of the Khasi Hills in north-east India, researchers have discovered a new species of swamp eel, which they named Monopterus rongsaw. The findings were published last month in Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters.

Like most swamp eels, M. rongsaw lives in muddy areas surrounding freshwater streams. The eel is blind, and it breathes primarily through an exceedingly vascularized mouth that functions like gills. Its deep pink-red appearance is due to its lack of pigmentation and the extensive amount of blood vessels in its skin, further aiding in the exchange of oxygen.

A CT-scan image showing the eel’s skull in a lateral view (scale bar = 1 mm)
TRUSTEES OF THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON

R. Britz et al., “Monopterus rongsaw, a new species of hypogean swamp eel from the Khasi Hills, Northeast India (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae),” Ichthyol Explor Fres, doi:10.23788 / IEF-1086, 2018.

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