Shillong: A new species of Channa, a genus of predatory fish in the family Channidae is discovered in Meghalaya. This new species is commonly known as snakehead and locally, as Dohthli), is a native to freshwater habitats in Asia.
The new species is named as 'Channa aristonei.' It is named after a freshwater enthusiast from Shillong, Aristone M. Ryndongsngi, who also was an MMA fighter. Ryndongsngi holds a degree in Fisheries Science from St Anthony's College, Shillong.
Channa aristonei was discovered by Ryndongsngi in 2017, when he accidentally collected it, thinking that it is Channa pardalis. He was trying to find the national habitat of the species e discovered from West Khasi Hills in 2016.
However, when Ryndongsngi noticed a few peculiarities in its morphological characters, he sent photos of Channa aristonei to Dr J. Praveenraj to confirm. Dr Praveenraj is an expert in Indian snakehead fish.
Ryngdongsngi said that Dr Praveenraj confirmed the species to be new and asked for a specimen for official description. The doctor conducted a field trip in 2019 and picked up a live specimen of the species for the study.
For the official description, an entire year was taken by Dr Praveenraj. The doctor and his team named the new species after Ryngdongsngi.
Ryngdongsngi thanked his teachers Dr R. Bhuyan, D. Sarah Kharbuli, (L) Dr D. Ghosh and Dr Rupak Nath, who inspired him during his post-graduation in aquaculture.
The snakehead fishes range from small-sized to large-bodied fish. The size-range of the fish are from 10 – 180 cm. These are edible and are alos valued as ornamental fishes. The snakeheads inhabit in hill streams, swamps, wetlands and lakes of Northeastern India.
A Subject Matter Specialist (Fisheries) at ICAR-Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Meghalaya's Ri Bhoi district said that this a great achievement of Aristone M. Ryngdongsngi.