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Sunday, November 29, 2020

Himachal: 9 new animal species discovered; one named after high school student

Besides the nine discoveries, new records of five species were found in Himachal -- that is species which have been discovered in other parts of the world but recorded for the first time in India.

Written by Gagandeep Singh Dhillon | Shimla | Updated: October 24, 2020 1:03:13 am
The animals discovered in the state include a fish, moth, caddisfly, two wasps, and four true bugs. (Express photo)

Nine new species of animals were discovered in Himachal Pradesh last year, including an insect which has been named after a high school student who spotted it, according to Animal Discoveries 2019, a report released by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) recently.

The animals discovered in the state include a fish, moth, caddisfly, two wasps, and four true bugs. The fish was found in Simbalbara river in Sirmaur district and has been named after the river as Garra simbalbaraensis.

A true bug, Pealius satakshiae, was named after Satakshi, a high school student “who first indicated the occurrence of this species” in the Chail wildlife sanctuary. Insects in the order Hemiptera, also called ‘true’ bugs, include plant bugs, cicadas, bed bugs, aphids etc. Three other true bug species were discovered in the state, including one in Palampur and another in Lahaul’s Dalang Maidan at an altitude of 3,300 metres above the sea level.

A new wasp found in Shimla has been named after Dr Kailash Chandra, ZSI’s director. Another wasp was named Isolia bhima after the “giant among the Pandava brothers in Mahabharata”. Its original specimen, or holotype, was found in Odisha while paratypes were found in Tamil Nadu and Himachal.

A caddisfly was discovered at an altitude of 2,100 in Panchpulla in Dalhousie, and specimens of a new moth originally discovered in Uttarakhand were also found in the state.

Besides the nine discoveries, new records of five species were found in Himachal — that is species which have been discovered in other parts of the world but recorded for the first time in India. These include a fly found in Nagar Castle in Kullu and two species of flies in Jubbal.

In Kinnaur’s Sangla valley, an amoeba-like organism named Cyclopyxis leidy earlier known from France and Indonesia was reported for the first time in India. Sangla also reported a new record of another single-celled organism, Assulina quadratum, earlier known from parts of Europe.

Across the country, 368 new animal species were discovered in 2019, including 294 invertebrates and 74 vertebrates. In Kerala, a new fish was named after Gollum, a fictional character from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, while another one was named Pangio bhujia after the popular Indian snack. A true bug found in Tamil Nadu was named after PM Narendra Modi.

The report said that during the last decade, nearly 2,500 species have been discovered in India, a mega-biodiverse country. The total faunal diversity in India now comprises around 1.02 lakh species which is 6.5 per cent of the global diversity

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