New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Western Ghats reveal world’s smallest land fern

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Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Adder’s-tongue ferns, Ophioglossum malviae

Mains level: Biodiversity of western ghats and measures needed to conserve it


Smallest fern discovered

  1. Indian researchers have discovered the world’s smallest land fern hiding in the Ahwa forests of the Western Ghats in Gujarat’s Dang district
  2. The fingernail-sized fern belongs to a group known as the adder’s-tongue ferns, named after their resemblance to a snake’s tongue

Features of the plant

  1. The size of the new Malvi’s adder’s-tongue fern Ophioglossum malviae is just one centimeter
  2. A look at the plant’s minuscule seeds (called spores) under a powerful electron microscope revealed it had a unique thick outer layer which similar species lacked
  3. Initial observations suggest that the ferns are seasonal and grow with the first monsoon rains
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