An Indian man named Abraham A, a former paramilitary soldier from Kerala made a remarkable discovery in 2020. While taking a bath, he noticed a peculiar “red thread in the bucket.” To his surprise, the thread was moving, prompting him to investigate further.
He placed the mysterious creature, later identified as a new species of subterranean freshwater fish called Pathala Eel Loach, inside a glass jar, the BBC reported.
The fish gets its name from “Pathala,” a Sanskrit word, meaning “below the feet,” suggesting its subterranean habitat.
This small, snake-like species thrives in aquifers, extensive layers of permeable rock, and sediments that serve as reservoirs for groundwater.
Intrigued by his discovery, Abraham sought help from a local college professor, Dr Binoy Thomas, who connected him with researchers at the Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) for identification.
Over the following weeks, four more fish from the same species were found in Abraham’s well and water tank.
The significance of this finding was brought back into the spotlight when Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio, known for his environmental activism, praised Abraham’s discovery on Instagram.
DiCaprio emphasised the importance of citizen science in exploring unknown underground ecosystems, showcasing how simple daily activities can lead to groundbreaking discoveries.