Researchers in China have discovered a new fish completely accidentally. The fish has been dubbed a blind ‘unicorn’ fish, due to the bulbous horn-like protrusion on its head.
Researchers were looking for other cave fish under the genus Sinocyclocheilus, when they discovered the fish in a dark pool of water in a cave in the mountainous Guizhou province in Southwest China.
The pool of water in which it was dwelling was no bigger than a standard kitchen table, measuring only 5.9 feet (1.8 meters) wide and 2.6 feet (0.8 m) deep.
They have eyes, though they are small and rudementary, making it unlikely they can see see through them. Their pitch black habitat would also deem eyes unnecessary. Instead of eyes, the fish have two whisker-like barbels that they use as feelers to find their way around their underwater home.
The fish has many of the same features of other fish in the genus Sinocyclocheilus family, including the unicorn-like structure on the head, and was categorised under this genus, under the name , Sinocyclocheilus longicornus. These types of fish are native only to China, and many live in caves like the newly-discovered longicornus.
The fish themselves measure between 4.1 and 5.7 inches (10.5 to 14.6 centimeters) – and lack any scales or pigment, making them completely colourless. The fish has been documented in a research paper.