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India adds new species to its fauna: Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)


India has added 557 new species to its fauna according to Animal Discoveries 2020, a document published recently by the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).


Prelims, GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of Environment and Ecology, Species in news, Government Policies and Initiatives/Organisations)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
  2. About the new species added in the ZSI document 

About the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) was founded in 1916  by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoFCC) as premier Indian organisation in zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the country.
  • It originated as a Zoological Section of the Indian Museum in Kolkata and its headquarters is in Kolkata.
  • It has been declared as a designated repository for the National Zoological Collection as per Section 39 of the National Biodiversity Act, 2002.
  • The primary objectives of the ZSI are:
    • To promote the survey, exploration, research, and documentation on various aspects of animal taxonomy in the Indian subcontinent. It also seeks the advancement of knowledge on animal taxonomy.
    • To Make a status survey of the threatened and endemic species.
    • Preparation of Red Data Book, Fauna of India, and Fauna of States.
    • Bio-ecological studies on important communities/species.
    • Preparation of database for the recorded species of the country.
    • Maintenance and Development of National Zoological Collections.

Publications and other works of the ZSI

  • ZSI publishes the Red Data Book on Indian Animals. It was first published in 1983 and is similar to the Red Data Book published by IUCN.
  • Publication of results including Fauna of India, Fauna of States, and Fauna of Conservation Areas.
  • It works for the development of Environmental Information System (ENVIS) and Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Centres.
  • It Conducts collaborative research programs on “Biodiversity” with other organisations in India and abroad.
  • The ZSI is also involved in Geographic Information System (GIS) and Remote Sensing studies on recorded animal diversity as well as on threatened species.

About the new species added in the ZSI document 

  • Among the States, the highest number of new species were discovered from Karnataka (66 species), followed by Kerala (51 species).
  • Also in 2020, 46 new species were discovered from Rajasthan and 30 from West Bengal.
  • In terms of new records or species recorded in the country for the first time, Arunachal Pradesh had the highest (20 new records).
  • In the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, 25 new species were discovered and 16 new records documented in 2020.
  • The ZSI publication shows that India is a mega biodiverse country, rich in biodiversity, with 23.39% of its geographical area under forest and tree cover.
  • India is positioned 8th in mega biodiversity countries in the world with 0.46 BioD index which is calculated by its percentage of species in each group relative to the total global number of species in each group,
  • Among the new species, some interesting species discovered in 2020 are:
    1. Trimeresurus salazar, a new species of green pit viper discovered from Arunachal Pradesh;
    2. Lycodon deccanensis, the Deccan wolf snake discovered from Karnataka; 
    3. Sphaerotheca Bengaluru, a new species of burrowing frog named after the city of Bengaluru
    4. Xyrias anjaalai, a new deep water species of snake eel from Kerala;
    5. Glyptothorax giudikyensis, a new species of catfish from Manipur; 
    6. Clyster galateansis, a new species of scarab beetles from the Great Nicobar Biosphere.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023