New species of head-shield sea slug named after President Murmu
February 29, 2024  17:55
President Draupadi Murmu
President Draupadi Murmu
Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) scientists have discovered a new species of head-shield sea slug from the Bay of Bengal in the Odisha-West Bengal border and named it in the honour of President Droupadi Murmu, an official said. 

The new species which was discovered from Udaipur and Digha coast of Odisha and West Bengal and named as "Melanochlamys Droupadi", said Dhriti Banerjee, director, ZSI. 

The proposed common name of the new species is Droupadi's head-shield sea slug, said one of the scientists. 

The species was confirmed by examination of morphological, anatomical and molecular characteristics. It is a small invertebrate with a maximum length up to 7 mm, brownish black in colour with a ruby red spot in the hind end, shell inside the body, hermaphrodite, normally crawling on the intertidal zone, which left the crawl mark behind them in the sandy beaches. 

Their reproduction apparently occurs between November and January, said Prasad Chandra Tudu, Marine Aquarium Regional Centre, ZSI, Digha. 

Melanochlamys Droupadi is a unique species with a ruby red spot on the left posterior side unlike the other species reported throughout the world, said Tudu, who was leading the study along with S K Sajan of ZSI Kolkata, Smrutirekha Acharya and Anil Mohapatra of the ZSI's Estuarine Biology Regional Centre, Gopalpur-on-Sea. 

Tudu said the distribution of this species was presently recorded only from a 3-km stretch of the Digha-Udaipur coast. 

The study has revealed it was the second species discovered in the country, he added. They have collected around 145 specimens from the stretch from February 2021 to March 2023 for the purposes of the study. 

"After a thorough study, we confirmed the species was a new one," he added. 

The research paper was published in the leading molluscan journal, Mollusca Research, in its online edition. 

Tudu said the sea slugs are active marauders and rapid hunters, feeding on small animals like ribbon worms, marine worms and small fishes by sucking the whole prey into their mouths. It plays a secondary consumer role in the ecosystem, he added.
« Back to LIVE