ZSI Current Affairs

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Andaman & Nicobar Islands home to tenth of India’s fauna species: ZSI

Andaman & Nicobar Islands are to home to tenth of India’s fauna species and hosts 1,067 endemic faunal species found nowhere else. It was revealed by Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) publication titled Faunal Diversity of Biogeographic Zones: Islands of India. This publication for the first time has come up with database of all faunal species found on the island. It has database of species found in particular category of animals and also highlights most vulnerable among them.

Highlights of ZSI publication

Total area of A&N Islands, which comprises of 572 islands, islets and rocky outcrops, is about 8,249 sq. km has around total 11,009 species. It comprises only 0.25% of India’s geographical area but is home to more than 10% of country’s fauna species. Thus, presence of such large number of species in such small area makes A&I Islands one of the richest ecosystems and biodiversity hot spots in India. Tourism, illegal construction and mining are posing threat to the islands’ biodiversity, which is already vulnerable to volatile climatic factors. Some of the species in A&N Islands are restricted to very small area and thus more vulnerable to any anthropogenic threat.

Marine fauna: Of the ten species of marine fauna found on islands, dugong/sea cow and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin are both classified as Vulnerable under IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Terrestrial mammalian species: 46 terrestrial mammalian species are found. 3 species have been categorised as Critically Endangered —Jenkin’s shrew (C. jenkinsi), Andaman shrew (Crocidura andamanensis) and Nicobar shrew (C. nicobarica). Five species are listed as Endangered, 9 species as Vulnerable, and 1 species as Near Threatened by IUCN.

Birds: Endemism is quite high in A&N islands, with 36 among 344 species of birds found only on the islands. Many of these bird species are placed in IUCN Red List of threatened species and also under the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA).

Marine diversity: Eight species of amphibians and 23 species of reptiles are endemic to the islands. They are at high risk of being threatened.

Marine faunal diversity: It includes coral reefs and its associated fauna. In all, 555 species of scleractinian corals (hard or stony corals) are found in the island ecosystem, all which are placed under Schedule I of the WPA.

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

It is India’s apex organization on animal taxonomy. Its objective is to promote survey, exploration, research and documentation on various aspects of animal taxonomy in Indian subcontinent. It also seeks advancement of knowledge on animal taxonomy. It was established in 1916 and headquartered in Kolkata. It has been declared as designated repository for National Zoological Collection as per section 39 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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Ptilomera nagalanda: New species of water strider found in Nagaland

Scientists from Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered new species of water strider named Ptilomera nagalanda Jehamalar and Chandra in Nagaland. It was found in river Intanki in Peren district of Nagaland.

This newly discovered species belongs to Ptilomera agriodes genus. It measures about 11.79 mm and has long slender legs. It has orange with black stripes on dorsal side and pale yellowish brown ventral part of body. The presence of black stripes on dorsal side differentiates this species from other known species of subgenus Ptilomera. It is only found in rocky, fast flowing streams and rivers that are not exposed to lot of sunlight. It has hair on middle legs that help insects resist strong current of streams.

Water striders

Water striders aregroup of insects adapted to life on surface of water, using surface tension to their advantage. Their presence serves as indicator water of water quality and also play important role in food chain in river ecosystem as they feed on mosquito larvae.

Water striders have three pairs of legs. The front legs are relatively shorter than mid and hind legs and used to catch and hold prey. They possess needle-like mouth parts that are used for sucking the juice of prey. There are nearly 100 species of water striders found in India across different water bodies such as open ocean, ponds, pools, lakes, rivers, streams etc.

With discovery of Ptilomera nagalanda, the number of species of water striders belonging to subgenus Ptilomera has increased to six in India. These includes Ptilomera agriodes found in peninsular India, Ptilomera laticaudata, northern and northeastern India, Ptilomera assamensis found in northeastern India, Pltilomera occidentalis from Uttarakhand and Ptilomera tigrina found in the Andaman islands.

Month: Categories: Environment Current Affairs 2018

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