New species of small life forms recorded from northeast

The latest zoological finds include nine new emperor moth species discovered in Arunanchal Pradesh and Assam

November 17, 2023 04:20 am | Updated 04:20 am IST - GUWAHATI

An image of a type of emperor moth. for representation.

An image of a type of emperor moth. for representation. | Photo Credit: The Hindu


From moths to a gecko, it has been a festive season of zoological finds in India’s northeast. Researchers and specialists have recorded several small life forms from the region after years of studying samples.

Stefan Naumann, an associate of Berlin’s Museum fur Naturkunde and Peter Smetacek of the Bhimtal-based Butterfly Research Centre described 11 emperor moths (Saturniidae) species new to science in Bionotes journal. Nine of these are from Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.

These include the Mishmi moon moth (Actias smetaceki) from Arunachal Pradesh and the Shan moon moth (Actias loeffleri) from northern Myanmar. “Their name has been derived from a moon on each of its wings,” Mr. Smetacek said.

The largest of the 11 moths recorded with a wingspan of 13.6 cm is Loepa himalayana found in Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet.

Out of more than 1,300 known species of moths belonging to the Saturniidae family, including the emperor moths, some 100 are from India.

A new frog recorded from Namdapha in Arunachal Pradesh is Alcalus fontinalis thus named because of small streams or brooks where it was found in May 2022. A team led by Abhijit Das of the Wildlife Institute of India has described this frog with dilated toes and wrinkled skin.

The other members of the team were Bitupan Boruah, Surya Narayanan, Jason D. Gerard, and V. Deepak.

According to the researchers, frogs of the Alcalus genus found in the Philippines and Thailand were hitherto unknown in India.

Arunachal Pradesh also yielded the Alycaeus himalayae, a snail found in a small limestone cave in the East Siang district. A team led by Neelavar Ananthram Aravind of the SM Sehgal Foundation Centre for Biodiversity and Conservation at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment recorded the snail.

The researchers said it is the only Aycaeus species inhabiting the Himalayas. All other recorded snails belonging to this genus have been reported from Laos, Vietnam, southern Thailand, and Peninsular Malaysia.

Another new species of snail, Cycloryx pemaledai, was also reported from Sikkim.

Researchers of the Zoological Survey of India and Kalyani University recorded 19 new scarab beetle species from Mizoram by studying specimens collected between 1993 and 2019. The team of Devanshu Gupta, Subhankar Kumar Sarkar, Joyjit Ghosh, Debika Bhunia, and Piyanka Ghosh.

Scarab beetles belong to the Scarabaeidae family which includes the dung beetles or coprophagous scarabs and plant-eating beetles or phytophagous scarabs.

The latest find was Cyrtodactylus vairengtensis, a bent-toed gecko named after Mizoram’s Vairengte area from where it was recorded. The report on this new species was published in the Zootaxa journal.

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