Western Ghats Current Affairs - 2020

Sand-eating Micrixalus herrei tadpoles species found in Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered Sand-eating tadpole species named Micrixalus herrei in Western Ghats. The tadpole belongs to the so-called Indian Dancing Frog family, Micrixalidae.

They were discovered from the deep recesses of streambeds in the Western Ghats

Key facts

  • They get their name Micrixalidae, from their habit of waving their legs as a sign of territorial and sexual display while sitting on boulders in streams.
  • It lives in total darkness i.e. they are of fossorial [underground] nature and comes out after fully developing into a young frog.
  • Their fossorial nature is considered as a rare occurrence in the amphibian world.
  • These tadpole species have purple colour and possess muscular eel-like bodies. They have skin-covered eyes, which helps them to burrow through gravel beds.
  • They lack teeth but have powerful suckering mouths and have serrated jaw sheaths in order to prevent large sand grains from entering the mouth while feeding and moving through sand.
  • These tadpoles have ribs and whitish globular sacs also known as lime sacs for storing calcium carbonate.

New snake species named Melanophidium Khairei discovered in Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered new species of burrowing snake named Melanophidium khairei or Khaire’s Black Shieldtail in Northwestern Ghats.

This new snake species was correctly identified after a gap of 144 years as it was earlier wrongly identified as identified as Melanophidium Punctatum or Pied-bellied Shieldtail.

Key facts

  • The snake belongs to family Uropeltidae, which comprises all species which are burrowers and live mostly underground.
  • It is burrowing snake of the genus melanophidium. It is found in evergreen forests and rarely above ground in southern Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.

Melanophidium Khairei has been named after Neelimkumar Khaire, the legendary founder of Pune based Katraj Snake Park and Indian Herpetological Society.

New snake genus and a species discovered in Gujarat

Researchers have discovered a new snake genus Wallaceophis and a species named gujaratenisis from Gujarat.

The genus was named after Alfred Russel Wallace for his pioneering work on biogeography, and for co-discovering the theory of natural selection.

The snake belongs to group of colubrid snakes and has similar scalation, tooth number, bone morphology and DNA of other snakes in this group.

There are more than 1,800 species of Colubrid snakes (Family Colubridae) across the world.