Aenigmachanna gollum what fish is it?

Aenigmachanna gollum belongs to an ancient family of fish, called dragon snakeheads, which retain their primitive characteristics. Scientists have named it after the dark character in JRR Tolkien’s epic saga The Lord of the Rings.

It looks like a dragon, swims like an eel, and has been hidden for a hundred million years.

The discovery of a new family of fish is very rare. Dragon snakeheads have eluded scientists until now because they live in underground aquifers, coming to the surface only after heavy flooding caused by rain.

According to their study, the closest relative of the family Aenigmachannidae is the Channidae, of which at least 50 species can be found in the streams and lakes of tropical Asia and Africa. According to molecular analyses, the two families diverged 34 million – 109 million years ago.

Based on computed tomography, molecular genetics, and morphological methods, the study was able to detect several significant differences between the Aenigmachanna and other snakeheads in the family Channidae.

It is thus suggested that Aenigmachanna is a lineage from Gondwana, which has survived the breakup of the supercontinent, with India breaking away from Africa around 120 million years ago.

We are, then, before a living fossil.

The lack of evolution can be seen in the shortened swim bladder of dragon snakeheads, as well as fewer ribbed vertebrae. These indicate that the family is less specialized than normal snakeheads. The family also has eyes and a reddish-brown pigmentation, which is unusual as most subterranean fish are pale and eyeless.

Unlike the Channidae, the Aenigmachannidae also lack the suprabranchial organ that allows them to breathe air and proliferate widely.

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