176 new species of animals discovered in India

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Kolkata: During last year, field biologists discovered 176 species of animals from India which are new to science, states Zoological Survey of India.

According to official records by ZSI responsible for animal taxonomy under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, 176 new species were discovered, described and reported from all over India last year.

Insects, which escape attention due to its size in areas with dense undergrowth, leads the pack among the animal kingdom as 93 new species of the invertebrates were found.

The list includes 23 species of fishes, 24 amphibian species like frogs, toads, etc, two species of reptiles, 12 species of arachnida (spiders) and 12 crustacean (crabs,lobsters, shrimps, etc).

Most of these discoveries have been made by ZSI scientists working across the country.

"The species we have discovered are available only from a very small geographical area. Therefore they may be on the verge of extinction already. Habitat destruction is the main cause," ZSI director Dr K Venkataraman said.

Many of the new species have been found from the biodiversity-rich areas in the Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats and Northeast states.

Home to a number of rare and endemic species, India has two global biodiversity hot spots - Eastern Himalayas and The Western Ghats.

Besides this, India's north-east falls under the Indo-Burma biodiversity hotspot while the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a part of the Sundaland hotspot.

ZSI estimates that from India around 96,500 species of animals including the single-celled protozoa have been reported till now which is around 6.7 per cent of the total number of animal species reported from all over the world.

Besides the new discoveries, 61 species of animals have also been reported for the first time in India.

The list includes 19 species of insects, 16 species of cnidaria (which include corals), 7 species of arachnids (spiders, mites, etc), 2 fishes, 1 reptiles, 16 species of Cnidaria (corals, etc).

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