India's Faunal and Floral Database: New Discoveries and Records in 2022

India's Faunal and Floral Database: New Discoveries and Records in 2022
Posted on 03-07-2023

India's Faunal and Floral Database: New Discoveries and Records in 2022

In 2022, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change released details about new discoveries and records in India's floral and faunal database. The faunal discoveries were compiled in a publication called "Animal Discoveries - New Species and New Records 2023," published by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI). The floral discoveries were documented in "Plant Discoveries 2022," published by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI).

In terms of faunal discoveries, India added 664 animal species to its database in 2022. This includes 467 new species and 197 new records, which are species found in India for the first time. Among the notable findings were three new species and one new record of mammals, two new records of birds, 30 new species and two new records of reptiles, six new species and one new record of amphibians, and 28 new species and eight new records of fish.

Some of the mammal species discovered include Miniopterus phillipsi, a long-fingered bat, and Glischropus meghalayanus, a bamboo-dwelling bat, both found in Meghalaya. Another significant discovery is the Sela macaque (Macaca selai), a new macaque species found in the western and central parts of Arunachal Pradesh and named after the Sela Pass.

The new records in fauna include Macaca leucogenys, a white-cheeked macaque previously found in southeastern Tibet and sighted for the first time in India in West Siang, Arunachal Pradesh. Another example is Ficedula zanthopygia, the yellow-rumped flycatcher, previously known from various regions but found last year in Narcondam Island of the Andaman archipelago.

Among the faunal discoveries, invertebrates accounted for the majority with 583 species, while vertebrates constituted 81 species. Insects dominated among invertebrates, with 384 species, while fish were the most dominant vertebrates, followed by reptiles, amphibians, mammals, and birds.

In the field of flora, "Plant Discoveries 2022" enumerates 339 taxa that have been added to the Indian flora. This includes 319 species and 20 infraspecific taxa that are new to the Indian flora. Out of these, 186 taxa are new to science, and 153 taxa are new distributional records from India.

The discoveries in flora comprised 37% seed plants, 29% fungi, 16% lichen, 8% algae, 6% bryophytes, 3% microbes, and the remaining 1% were pteridophytes. The western Himalayas accounted for 21% of the total discoveries, followed by the Western Ghats with 16%. "Plant Discoveries 2022" includes 125 angiosperms, one gymnosperm, five pteridophytes, 19 bryophytes, 55 lichens, 99 fungi, 27 algae, and nine microbes.

Among the new genus of plants discovered are Nandadevia Pusalkar, a genus common in the foothills and warm outer valleys of the Uttarakhand Himalayas, and Nilgiriella Pusalkar, an endemic genus found in the southern Western Ghats of India, distributed in Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Additionally, Calanthe lamellosa, an orchid species previously recorded in China and Myanmar, was found for the first time in India in the Japfu mountain range in Kohima, Nagaland.

These new discoveries and records contribute to the growing knowledge of India's diverse flora and fauna, highlighting the importance of conservation efforts and the need for continued research in this field.

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