Metadata

Rakthamichthys rongsaw

(Britz, Sykes, Gower and Kamei 2018) Britz, Dahanukar, Standing, Philip, Kumar and Raghavan 2020

Rakthamichthys rongsaw
Monopterus rongsaw. Photograph by Rachunliu G. Kamei and courtesy Ralf Britz
ORDERSUB-ORDERFAMILY
SynbranchiformesSynbranchoideiSynbranchidae

Synonyms

Monopterus rongsaw  Britz, Sykes, Gower and Kamei 2018

Country

India

Types

Holotype and only known specimen: BNHS FWF 611, 179 mm TL.

Distribution

Known only from the type locailty: dug from soil at Nongriat Village, Sohra (= Cherrapunji), Khasi Hills, Meghalaya, India (25°14'49.2" N 91°40'1.2" E) 440 m asl.

Habitat

The original description gives the following details: "The holotype of Monopterus rongsaw was collected during daytime soil-digging searches with bladed hoes for fossorial caecilian amphibians. The specimen was found at a depth of ~ 40 cm in moist, rocky soil in a secondary forest ~ 4 km trekking distance from Double Decker living roots bridge in Nongriat. The specimen was unearthed ~ 50 m from an unnamed stream." (Britz et al. 2018).

Traditionally subterranean biologists have not considered the soil fauna as part of the subterranean realm and they have not studied it. However there are a number of similarities of habitat, especially darkness but also confined space analagous to interstitial habitats, and of evolutionary trajectories such as reduction in eyes and pigment and in body size (Culver and Pipan 2014:128-141). This species and Monopterus luicolus are the only known soil dwelling fishes but there are 35 known species which inhabit the interstitial subterranean environment which is in many ways analagous. Both are shallow, dark and space limited (Culver and Pipan 2014:106-127) and if the two Monopterus species are compared morphologicall to the most exteme interstitial species many similarities can be noted. [See also Culver and Pipan (2008) and Pipan and Culver (2012) for discussions of shallow (or superficial) subterranean habiitats, SSHs].

Systematics

A member of the 'Amphipnous group' of Monopterus.

Conservation Status

TLO [NE]

Museum Holdings

As above only.

Key References

Rosen, D. E. and Greenwood, P. H. Journal Article 1976 A fourth neotropical species of synbranchid eel and the phylogeny and systematics of synbranchiform fishes
Culver, D.C. and Pipan, T. Journal Article 2008 Superficial subterranean habitats - gateway to the subterranean realm?
Britz, R., Lalremsanga, H.T., Lalrotluanga and Lalramliana Journal Article 2011 Monopterus ichthyophoides, a new species of scaled swamp eel (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae) from Mizoram, India
Pipan, T. and Culver, D.C. Book Section 2012 Shallow subterranean habitats
Culver, D.C. and Pipan, T Book 2014 Shallow subterranean habitats: Ecology, evolution and conservation
Britz, R., Doherty-Bone, T.M., Kouete, M.T., Sykes, D. and Gower, D.J. Journal Article 2016 Monopterus luticolus, a new species of swamp eel from Cameroon (Teleostei: Synbranchidae)
Britz, R., Sykes, D., Gower, D.J. & Kamei, R.G. Journal Article 2018 Monopterus rongsaw, a new species of hypogean swamp eel from the Khasi Hills in Northeast India (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes: Synbranchidae).
Britz, R., Dahanukar, N., Standing, A., Philip, S., Kumar, B. amd Raghavan, R. Journal Article 2020 Osteology of ‘Monopterus’ roseni with the description of Rakthamichthys, new genus, and comments on the generic assignment of the Amphipnous Group species (Teleostei: Synbranchiformes).
Britz, R., Sudasinghe, H., Sykes, D. and Tharindu Ranasinghe, R.H. Journal Article 2020 Ophichthys desilvai, a poorly known synbranchid eel from Sri Lanka (Teleostei: Synbranchidae)