New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Species in news: Hypnea Indica


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Red algae

Mains level: Seaweeds and their significance

Two new species of seaweed have been discovered by a group of marine biologists from the Central University of Punjab, Bathinda.

What are the species?

  • Named Hypnea indica (after India) and Hypnea bullata (because of the blisterlike marks on its body – bullate), the seaweeds are part of the genus Hypnea or red seaweeds.
  • They grow in the intertidal regions of the coast, namely the area that is submerged during the high tide and exposed during low tides.

Do you know?

Red Algae have great ecological importance. They form a vital part of the food chain and are also involved in producing about 40 to 60 per cent of the total global oxygen for both terrestrial habitat and other aquatic habitats.

Details of the genus

  • The genus Hypnea consists of calcareous, erect, branched red seaweeds.
  • While Hypnea indica was discovered Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, and Somnath Pathan and Sivrajpur in Gujarat, Hypnea bullata was discovered from Kanyakumari and Diu island of Daman and Diu.
  • There are 61 species of which 10 were reported in India.

Significance for the food industry

  • Species of Hypnea contain the biomolecule carrageenan, which is widely used in the food industry.
  • As the two species have been found on the west and south-east coasts of India, it suggests good prospects for their cultivation which can be put to good use economically.
  • The extensive calcareous deposit on the body that has been observed also provides room for thought.

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