New, Huge Cavefish Species, Neolissochilus pnar, Described

06 Jul, 2023

Neolissochilus pnar, live in its natural habitat at Krem-Um-Ladaw. Image Credit: Uros Aksamovic from Dahanukar et al., CC BY 4.0

A recent open-access article introduces the world to a new and extremely large species of cavefish from Northeast India, and it’s a member of the cyprinid family, Cyprinidae. Researchers Neelesh Dahanukar, Remya L. Sundar, Duwaki Rangad, Graham Proudlove, and Rajeev Raghavan have published their findings in the article “The world’s largest cave fish from Meghalaya, Northeast India, is a new species, Neolissochilus pnar (Cyprinidae, Torinae)” in the journal Vertebrate Zoology.

From the abstract: “The world’s largest subterranean fish was discovered in 2019, and was tentatively identified as a troglomorphic form of the golden mahseer, Tor putitora. Detailed analyses of its morphometric and meristic data, and results from molecular analyses now reveal that it is a new species of the genus Neolissochilus, the sister taxon of Tor. We formally describe the new species as Neolissochilus pnar, honouring the tribal communities of East Jaintia hills in Meghalaya, Northeast India, from where it was discovered.” The researchers note that specimens larger than 400 mm (15.75 inches) have been encountered, edging out the 385 mm Australian Blind Cave Eel, Ophisternon candidum, for the title of largest cavefish in the world.

An aggregation of the new species in their natural habitat. Image Credit: Uros Aksamovic from Dahanukar et al., CC BY 4.0

Of course, we’re not going to give away all the secrets and surprises here! For more exciting photos and a much more detailed accounting of this new species, read the species description for FREE on the Vertebrate Zoology website!


Dahanukar N, Sundar RL, Rangad D, Proudlove G, Raghavan R (2023) The world’s largest cave fish from Meghalaya, Northeast India, is a new species, Neolissochilus pnar (Cyprinidae, Torinae). Vertebrate Zoology 73: 141-152.

Available freely online at

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Matt Pedersen

Matt Pedersen is a Sr. Editor and Associate Publisher with Reef To Rainforest Media, LLC & CORAL Magazines, and is a Sr. Editor and Publishing Partner with Aquatic Media Press, LLC & AMAZONAS Magazine. Matt has kept aquariums for 38 years, has worked in most facets of the aquarium trade, is an active aquarist and fish breeder (both marine and freshwater), and was recognized with the 2009 MASNA Award as the MASNA Aquarist of the Year.

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