Scientists find new eel species in Gopalpur Odisha, name it Odishi

          Scientists at the Zoological Survey of India in Odisha have discovered a new species of moray eel from the Bay of Bengal and named it ODISHI, after the state in which it was first found, according to a study published in the journal Zootaxa. A team of zoologists has found the Gymnothorax ODISHI (locally known as Samudra Kochia) from Gopalpur beach in Ganjam district during a study in January.

         The ODISHI moray was found in January this year when scientists accidentally caught 11 of them in a five-meter-deep net, which they had laid in Gopalpur coast area. 

          After the thorough examination, they categorized the ODISHI moray as a brown short unpatterned eel because it had a uniform dark body color and a medium length of 42-70 cm. It differed from other species of short unpatterned eels in having a black spot behind the eye, the number of vertebrae and fins, white rims to jaw pores and larger eyes, the authors note in their paper.

         “Though nine species of short brown unpatterned species were recognized across the world, only one species - Gymnothorax Mishrai was earlier reported from Indian waters. The eel found at Gopalpur beach is the second such species found in the country. Since it was discovered in Odisha, we have named it ODISHI,” he said.

           He adds that Gopalpur coast, where the ODISHI moray was discovered is an unpolluted area and this makes him hopeful that the new species faces ODISHI threat to existence in the near future.

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