According to the list of new discoveries by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), 349 new species of flora and fauna were discovered in the past one year — 173 species and genera of plants and 176 species of animals.
- Of the new plants, some of the significant findings include nine new taxa of wild Musa (bananas), four species of black plum (jamun), three species of wild gingibers and 10 species of orchids.
- Western Ghats accounted for 22% of the new discoveries, while the Eastern Himalayas and the north-eastern States each accounted for 15% of the species found.
- In Arunachal Pradesh alone, 25 species of seed plants were discovered.
- 176 new species were added to the list of animals of India. These include 93 species of insects, seven species of collembolans, 12 species each of arachnidan and crustacean and one species of mollusca. Two species of reptiles have also been located for the first time in the country — one in Tamil Nadu and another in Madhya Pradesh.
- As in the previous year, insects outnumbered other animal groups this year also.
- A large number of amphibians and fish have made it to the list with 24 and 23 new species respectively. While most of the new species of amphibians were discovered from the Western Ghats, majority of fish species were from north-east India.
- Apart from the new species, the BSI has also added 105 new records and ZSI 61 ‘new records.’ Animals and plants that are found elsewhere in the world but have been spotted in India for the first time are called ‘new records.’
Scientists of both BSI and ZSI agree that the Western Ghats and the northeast are biodiversity hotspots where most new species were found.
In India, 96,891 species of animals and 47,791 species of plants have been recorded so far.
Sources: The Hindu.