India adds 557 new species to its fauna: Zoological Survey of India

Source: The Hindu

What is the News?

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has released a document titled “ Animal Discoveries 2020”. ZSI has been publishing this document since 2007.

Key Findings of the Document:

  1. India has added 557 new species to its fauna (animal life). This includes 407 new species and 150 new records. With this, the number of faunal species in India has reached around 1.02 lakh species.
  2. Among new species discovered, invertebrates constitute the majority when compared to vertebrates. Among invertebrates, insects dominated the most, whereas Pisces and reptiles dominated among vertebrates.
    • Animals can be classified as either vertebrates or invertebrates.
      • Vertebrates are animals that have a backbone inside their body. The major groups include fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
      • Invertebrates don’t have a backbone. They either have a soft body, like worms and jellyfish, or a hard outer casing covering their body, like spiders and crabs.
  3. State-wise: The highest number of new species were discovered from Karnataka (66 species), followed by Kerala (51 species). Also in 2020, 46 new species were discovered from Rajasthan and 30 from West Bengal. 
  4. State-wise based on New Records: In terms of new records or species recorded in the country for the first time, Arunachal Pradesh had the highest (20 new records). 

New Species discovered: Among the new species, some interesting species discovered in 2020 are:

  1. Trimeresurus salazar, a new species of green pit viper discovered from Arunachal Pradesh
  2. Lycodon deccanensis, the Deccan wolf snake discovered from Karnataka; 
  3. Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a new species of burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru
  4. Xyrias anjaalai, a new deepwater species of snake eel from Kerala; 
  5. Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a new species of catfish from Manipur; and 
  6. Clyster galateansis, a new species of scarab beetles from the Great Nicobar Biosphere. 

Species recorded for the first time in India: Some newly recorded species include: 

  1. Myotis cf. frater, a bat species are earlier known from China, Taiwan and Russia, has been reported for the first time from Uttarakhand in India;
  2. Zoothera citrina gibsonhilli, an Orange-headed thrush earlier known from southern Myanmar to south Thailand (central Malay peninsula), which was reported for the first time from India based on a collection made from the Narcondam island in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.

Note: India is a mega biodiverse country, with 23.39% of its geographical area under forest and tree cover. India is positioned 8th in mega biodiversity countries in the world with a 0.46 BioD index. The index is calculated by its percentage of species in each group relative to the total global number of species in each group.

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