The UK-based conservation group Fauna and Flora International (FFI) has discovered a new cave fish that does not have eyes or scales in Ha Long Bay.
A report on the group website on Friday said the new loach was discovered at Van Gio, a one square kilometer island with narrow arms.
Biologists Boris Sket and Peter Trontelj from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia discovered the fish as part of ongoing biodiversity surveys they have been conducting in the bay since 2002.
Scientists said the fish has evolved amidst the total darkness of deep limestone caves, which explains its lack of eyes, markings and scales.
The inch-long fish has been described in the Revue suisse de Zoologie by world-renowned Swiss ichthyologist, Maurice Kottelat, as not merely a new species but a new genus.
Its name Draconectes narinosus derives from the Greek words for dragon (drakon) and swimmer (nectes) a reference to Ha Long which means "descending dragon." The Latin "˜narinosus' refers to "large nostrils."
FFI said the fish might be endemic to Van Gio Island as it belongs to a family which is strictly limited to freshwater and cannot cross over into seawater.
Scientists are yet to discover whether there are other related species on other islands around the bay, or whether the species are the only surviving one of its genus.
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