A new species of the blind swamp eel belonging to the genus Rakthamichthys has been discovered from a well in Mumbai, naturalist Tejas Thackeray, son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, announced on Thursday.
The new species is a `hypogean freshwater eel' and the discovery was credited to Tejas Thackeray, Praveenraj Jaisimhan, Anil Mohapatra and Annam Pavan Kumar.
Mr. Thackeray made the announcement on Instagram.
“I believe it is my most remarkable discovery till date... A new species of a blind hypogean freshwater eel from Mumbai, named as 'Rakthamichthys Mumba', after my home city Mumbai,” he said.
“Pleased to introduce you to a species we collected a few years ago and worked on throughout the pandemic. A journey full of ups and downs, and today it finally gets to see the light of day. Presenting a new blind hypogean freshwater eel from my city – Rakthamichtys mumba – the Mumbai blind eel!” said Mr. Thackeray in the Instagram post.
It is the first completely blind subterranean freshwater fish species to be described from Maharashtra and the northern Western Ghats, he said, adding that the study was published in 'Aqua International Journal of Ichthyology' on Thursday.
The group decided to name the species after Mumbai's local deity, Mr. Thackeray said.
“The species' name 'mumba' refers to the locality, the city of Mumbai. The word 'mumba' derives its roots from the Marathi language, which is a tribute to Mumba Aai, a deity worshipped by the inhabitants of this city," he said.