Maharashtra Sees Discovery of 14 New Animal Species in 2023, Zoological Survey Of India Reports

Maharashtra Sees Discovery of 14 New Animal Species in 2023, Zoological Survey Of India Reports

Maharashtra Sees Discovery of 14 New Animal Species in 2023, Zoological Survey Of India Reports

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The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has identified 14 new animal species in Maharashtra in 2023, including two species recorded in India for the first time. The discoveries are detailed in the ZSI’s report, “Animal Discoveries 2023,” released on July 1, 2024.

The majority of new species found in Maharashtra are arachnids, which include spiders and scorpions. Notably, two arachnid species, *Steatoda erigoniformis* and *Myrmarachne spissa*, have been reported in India for the first time.

ZSI, operating under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change, is a premier research institute with a regional office in Pune. The institute’s annual publication, “Animal Discoveries of India – New Species and New Records,” compiles information on newly discovered species and records. In 2023, Indian scientists and researchers reported a total of 641 new discoveries, including 442 new species and 199 new records for India. This addition brings India’s faunal diversity to 104,561 species, accounting for 6.65% of the global total.

Among the 641 new discoveries in 2023, 564 are invertebrates, and 77 are vertebrates. Insects dominate the invertebrate discoveries with 369 species, while fish lead the vertebrates with 47 species.

https://zsi.gov.in/impo-link/en/page/1?v=7

Kerala topped the list with the highest number of new discoveries (101), followed by West Bengal (72), Tamil Nadu (64), Arunachal Pradesh (45), Karnataka (45), and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (36). Most discoveries were reported from southern India.

In Maharashtra, the ZSI made 14 new discoveries, comprising 12 new species and two first-ever records for India. These include arachnids, reptiles, insects, bees, and dragonflies. Mumbai, Satara, and Kolhapur areas reported the most discoveries, with Khandesh contributing a new bee species.

India is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse nations, hosting about 7-8% of the world’s documented species. Maharashtra, part of the northern Western Ghats, boasts rich biodiversity. These discoveries enhance our understanding of the region’s diverse life forms and complex ecosystems, which is crucial for conservation efforts.

Notable Discovery in Pune

Among the newly discovered species, *Myrmarachne spissa* was found in Pune by scientists from various institutions, including the ZSI. The team, comprising Rishikesh Tripathi, Athira Jose, Karunnappilli Shamsudheen Nafin, Nishi Babu, and Ambalaparambil Vasu Sudhikumar, reported this species in India for the first time, previously known only from Sri Lanka.