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Zoological Survey of India Names New Marine Species after President Droupadi Murmu

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has identified and named a new species of marine head-shield sea slug discovered along the West Bengal and Odisha coasts. Named Melanochlamys droupadi, this distinctive species bears a ruby red spot and has unique characteristics that distinguish it from other sea slugs.

Discovery and Naming

  • The species was discovered from the coastal areas of Digha in West Bengal and Udaipur in Odisha.
  • It is characterized by its short, blunt cylindrical body, smooth dorsal surface, and distinctive red spot.
  • Named after the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, Melanochlamys droupadi was confirmed through morphological, anatomical, and molecular examinations.

Physical Characteristics

  • Melanochlamys droupadi is a small invertebrate, measuring up to 7 mm in length, with a brownish-black coloration.
  • Its unique feature is the presence of a ruby red spot at the hind end.
  • The species is hermaphroditic and is typically found crawling on the intertidal zone of sandy beaches.

Behaviour and Habitat

  • The sea slug leaves distinctive crawl marks on sandy beaches as it moves.
  • Reproduction occurs between November and January, and the species is known to secrete transparent mucus to form a protective sheath against sand grains.
  • It prefers to crawl beneath smooth sand, forming a moving capsule where its body is rarely visible.

Distribution and Significance

  • While species of the Melanochlamys genus are typically found in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Oceanic realm, Melanochlamys droupadi is unique to the West Bengal and Odisha coasts.
  • This discovery adds to our understanding of marine biodiversity in the region and highlights the importance of continued research and conservation efforts.

Important Takeaways For All Competitive Exams

  • Zoological Survey of India Headquarters: Kolkata;
  • Zoological Survey of India Founded: 1 July 1916;
  • Zoological Survey of India Director: Dr. Dhriti Banerjee;
  • Zoological Survey of India Founder: Government of India.

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