Tamil Nadu

New cockroach species named after Kalakkad

The Allacta Kalakkadensis species of cockroach found in Kalakkad-Mudanthurai region.

The Allacta Kalakkadensis species of cockroach found in Kalakkad-Mudanthurai region.  

It is said to be endemic to Western Ghats and is nocturnal

A new cockroach species has been discovered by scientists of the Southern Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, at the Western Ghats, a region with high species richness, and high percent endemicity.

“Since it was discovered during a field survey in Kalakkad-Mudanthurai, we have named it as Allacta Kalakkadensis,” said S. Prabakaran, who along with M. Senraj and Cristian C. Lucanas, found the insect at Valiyathu Odai in Thriukurungudi range.

Although the species is believed to be endemic to Western Ghats and is nocturnal, Mr. Prabakaran said subsequently they were found in the Eastern Ghats.

“We found them in the bark of a tamarind tree and a litter of leaves. We cross-checked our finding with scientists across the world by publishing on the web and confirmed that it is a new species,” said Mr. Prabakaran. The finding was published in Halteres, an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to entomology.

The Kalakkadenis differs from others by sexual wing dimorphism, pronotal and facial markings, and the structure of male genitalia.

India is home to 182 cockroach species and 55 of them are in Tamil Nadu. The new finding has increased the figure to 56.

Fr. Maria Packiam, Director, Entomological Research Institute, Loyola College, who was part of the survey, said the morphological features such as legs, antenna, mouth, stomach and body colours and analysis of external reproductive organs helped the team to differentiate the new species from others.

Mr. Prabakaran said, “Due to the distinct pattern difference between the male and female, it may be possible that they are two separate species, despite that they are considered the same on the premise that both were collected from the same tree.” He said additional samples would enable to check the colour variations between sexes and additional molecular information might be needed to clarify this.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 12:27:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/new-cockroach-species-named-after-kalakkad/article30834124.ece

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