New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Species in news: Abortelphusa Namdaphaensis


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Abortelphusa Namdaphaensis

Mains level: Eastern Himalayas and its biodiversity

A crab specie was recently named after Arunachal Pradesh’s pristine forests on the edge of a small stream in Namdapha Tiger Reserve.

Try this question from CSP 2020:

Q.With reference to India’s Biodiversity, Ceylon frogmouth, Coppersmith barbet, Gray-chinned minivet and White-throated redstart are:

(a) Birds
(b) Primates
(c) Reptiles
(d) Amphibians

Abortelphusa Namdaphaensis

  • The species, a small freshwater crab species, is a tribute to Namdapha, the largest protected area in the Eastern Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot and the Abor Hills.
  • It is the first Gecarcinucidae to be found in the Himalayan region. Freshwater crabs are divided into two families/categories: Potamidae and Gecarcinucidae.
  • Both differ in abdomen shape and size. Potamidae species have a broad triangular abdomen, whereas, in Gecarcinucidae, the abdomen is mostly T-shaped.
  • While the Gecarcinucidae is found in the peninsular region, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats, Potamidae are found in the Himalayan region.

What makes it special?

  • The new species was found in a dry area, despite being a “freshwater” crab.
  • Freshwater crabs use their gills to absorb dissolved oxygen from water, but for food, breeding, and other purposes, they do not need water, and thus roam on the land near water.
  • The only reason it was possible to spot this on land is that the habitat around the water body has been preserved, untouched even.
  • Of the 125 freshwater crabs in India, the north-east accounts for 37. Arunachal Pradesh has 15 and Assam has 21.
  • The discovery highlights the potential of Arunachal Pradesh as one of the richest biodiversity hotspots in the country.

Back2Basics: Namdapha

  • Namdapha (named a National Park in 1983) is known for its rich biodiversity and believed to be the rare area that harbours four large cats: tigers, snow leopards, clouded leopards and leopards.
  • The Abor Hills, bordered by the Mishmi Hills and Miri Hills, is historically known for the Abor Expedition.
  • It is a punitive expedition against the Abors in the North-Eastern Frontier Agency (which corresponds to parts of present-day Assam and Arunachal Pradesh) from October 1911 to April 1912.
  • The expedition had thrown up a plethora of new floral and faunal species, making it a zoological and botanical expedition as well.

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