Melanochlamys droupadi (Syllabus: GS Paper 3 – Env and Eco)

News-CRUX-10     1st March 2024        
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Context: The Zoological Survey of India named a new marine species of head-shield sea slug with ruby red spot which was discovered from West Bengal and Odisha coast after President of India.

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

  • About: It is India’s apex organization on animal taxonomy.
  • Establishment: 1916 
  • Headquarters: Kolkata
  • Objective: To promote survey, exploration, research and documentation on various aspects of animal taxonomy in the Indian subcontinent.

Melanochlamys droupadi

  • About: The species Melanochlamys droupadi was discovered in Digha, West Bengal coast, and Udaipur, Odisha coast.
  • Characteristics: Species of the genus Melanochlamys are identified by their short, blunt, and cylindrical bodies.

oThey possess a smooth dorsal surface with two dorsal shields, namely the anterior cephalic and posterior shield.

  • Physical Features

oMelanochlamys droupadi is a small invertebrate, reaching a maximum length of 7 mm.

oIt exhibits a brownish-black coloration with a ruby red spot at the hind end.

oThe species carries a shell within its body and is hermaphroditic in nature.

oTypically found crawling on intertidal zones, leaving distinct crawl marks on sandy beaches.

  • Reproduction: It appears to occur between November and January.
  • Habitat: The species was found near Hospital Ghat, Old Digha, merely 50 meters from the Marine Aquarium Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India.

oType specimens were deposited in Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre, Digha, and Estuarine Biology and Regional Centre, Gopalpur.

  • Distribution Patterns: Melanochlamys species are predominantly distributed in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Oceanic realm.

oNotably, three species, including Melanochlamys droupadi, are truly tropical in distribution, with Melanochlamys papillata from the Gulf of Thailand and Melanochlamys bengalensis from the West Bengal and Odisha coast.

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