Not even in his dreams would Ishaan Abraham Pichamuthu have thought that he would stumble upon an undiscovered species of freshwater jellyfish during a family trip to Kodaikanal.
A class 4 student of Ida Scudder School in Vellore, Ishaan’s finding will be added to this year’s edition of Animal Discoveries records by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
An avid science enthusiast, the 9-year-old has always found underwater world of marine beings captivating.
“I have always been curious about insects, fish and other such creatures. I love to read about them and collect specimens from wherever I go,” Ishaan told TOI.
Keeping an eye out for fish during a boat ride on the Kodaikanal lake, he ended up spotting the uncommon jellyfish.
“When we were boating in Kodai, I was intently looking into the water to spot fish. When I saw small jellyfish, I became curious. My father told me it was rare to find them in freshwater. So I decided to collect some specimen,” he said.
Ishaan’s father Kishore, who is an Intensive Care Physician at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, helped his curiosity-piqued son in collecting samples of the 1cm wide gelatinous aquatic animals.
“We found that none of the literature had mentioned this particular species. A specimen was taken to the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management at Anna University in Chennai and the Christian Medical College, Vellore where they were studied for more than six months,” Kishore said.
K Venkataraman, who is the former director of ZSI, confirmed Ishaan’s discovery of the freshwater jellyfish as a first in India.
“Freshwater jellyfish are extremely rare. The number of antennae and the reproductive system of this newly found creature is different from the earlier ones discovered from Khandala in Mumbai in 1912,” he said.