Press Esc to close

Amphibians discovered in Northeast

Last updated: 24 October, 2009
Kalyan Ray in New Delhi 23:54 IST

Hard work spread over two years has paid results with the discovery of three new species

The dense jungles of northeastern India have unearthed three new species of legless amphibians, bolstering the pristine forest's status as a veritable biodiversity treasure trove. Surveying the woods for three years reaps rich rewards for an Indo-British team which discovered three new species - resembling common earthworms - in Manipur and Nagaland. Interestingly one of the species has a moustache-like stripe on its upper lip.

This peculiar characteristic is being reported for the first time for caecilians - a category of amphibians that live hidden in the ground, making them the least explored order of amphibians and widely unknown.

Species with a moustache

Amphibian researcher SD Biju from the Delhi University (DU) and his colleagues named it as Ichthyophis moustakius which means an Ichthyophis species with a moustache. Its length approximately is a foot.
The team comprising scientists from the DU and the Natural History Museum in London surveyed the two states between 2006 and 2008. They literally dug tonnes of soil to unearth these amphibians.
Studying caecilians is always a challenge for scientists as they usually live under the soil and can be found only by digging up soil. There is no indicator that predicts where caecilians can be found.

"We have to dig and dig till we find what we are looking for. It's possible to find out more caecilian species from these states", Biju told Deccan Herald. The discovery comes after 12 years of the last sighting of caecilians in the northeast region by two researchers from the Zoological Survey of India, Chennai office. The other two species have been baptised as Ichthyophis sendenyu and Ichthyophis khumhzi, named after a remote Nagaland and Manipuri village respectively.

The 1.5 ft long I.khumzi is the longest species among the striped aecilians. The findings have been reported in the latest issue of Zootaxa, an international peer-reviewed journal. This discovery highlights the need to conserve these species and their habitats as they presumably came out for the first time owing to the loss of their traditional habitat.

Their habitats are rapidly disappearing and immediate steps are required to protect the forests from human activities like shifting cultivation.

Local myths also contribute to the depletion of the species as local communities erroneously believe caecilians are extremely venomous 'snakes'.
But in reality caecilians are neither venomous nor are they snakes! They never bite. They open their mouth only to feed themselves.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
Girls taking selfie in front of Gateway of India replica, it is made by Institute of Baking...

Girls taking selfie in front of Gateway of India replica, it is made by Institute of Baking...

Commissioning of Scorpene Class Submarine INS Kalvari at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai...

Commissioning of Scorpene Class Submarine INS Kalvari at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows his finger marked with indelible ink, as he leaves...

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows his finger marked with indelible ink, as he leaves...

Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi meets with the families of fishermen affected by Cyclone...

Congress president-elect Rahul Gandhi meets with the families of fishermen affected by Cyclone...

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on their way...

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan on their way...

An Indian army paratrooper jumps from a plane carrying an Indian national flag...

An Indian army paratrooper jumps from a plane carrying an Indian national flag...

Women waiting in a queue to cast their votes during the second phase of Assembly elections...

Women waiting in a queue to cast their votes during the second phase of Assembly elections...

Indian Youth Congress workers shout slogans while being detained by the police during a protest...

Indian Youth Congress workers shout slogans while being detained by the police during a protest...

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Derek O'Brien, Anand Sharma, Mallikarjun Kharge, Farooq Abdullah and others...

Ghulam Nabi Azad, Derek O'Brien, Anand Sharma, Mallikarjun Kharge, Farooq Abdullah and others...

Pope Francis receives a credential letter from Sibi George, new Ambassador of India to Holy See...

Pope Francis receives a credential letter from Sibi George, new Ambassador of India to Holy See...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.