Western Ghats Current Affairs - 2019

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One of India’s Smallest Orchids discovered in Assam

Lecanorchis taiwaniana (The parasitic bloom), a type of orchid was accidentally discovered in Assam by Assam’s forest officer named Jatindra Sarma . He is also the Member Secretary of State Medicinal Plants Board.

Key Findings:

  • The orchid species is already known in Japan, Taiwan, and Laos. This is the first time it is discovered in India.
  • Its discovery was published in Japanese Journal of Botany with title as “new record for the flora in India”.

Characteristics

  • Lecanorchis taiwaniana is a mycoheterotroph, which means it is one of two known types of parasitic plants which have abandoned photosynthesis. As it derives nutrients and its energy from fungus, it may be of herbal importance.
  • It is a variant of a Japanese orchid.
  • It is India’s one of smallest botanically recorded orchids in terms of size and duration of bloom.

Importance: The discovery of Lecanorchis taiwaniana adds to the orchid wealth of northeast India (NEI). India has about 1,300 species of orchids out of which 800 are found in NEI, about 300 species are found in Western Ghats and 200 in northwestern Himalayas.

Month: Categories: Environment

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Purple Frog to be crowned Kerala’s state amphibian

Purple frog could be soon designated as Kerala’s state amphibian. The proposal for this is being mooted by Kerela’s leading Herpetologists (a specialist in study of reptiles and amphibians). The odd-looking species is endemic to Western Ghats. The title would help in protecting species fragile habitat.

About Purple Frog

  • Scientific Name: Nasikabatrachus sahyadrensis (N. sahyadrensis).
  • It is also known as Maveli frog or Pignose Frog.
  • Features: Its body appears sturdy and swollen. It is relatively round in shape as compared to other flattened frogs. Compared to other frogs it has a small head and an unusual pointed snout (muzzle). In most cases adults are dark purplish-grey in color.
  • Habitat: For almost its entire life it lives in underground tunnels and comes out to surface for only a single day in a year to breed.
  • Distribution: They were thought to be limited to south of the Palghat Gap (a pass which is located between Nilgiri Hills to north and Anaimalai Hills to south) in Western Ghats, but are now known to be quite widely distributed in Western Ghats.
  • As per Herpetologists purple frog should rightly be called ‘living fossil’ as it is believed that they have co-existed with dinosaurs almost 70 million years ago.
  • IUCN Red List: Their conservation status is endangered as per International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Month: Categories: EnvironmentStates

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