Two new earthworm species discovered in Odisha's Koraput

New Earthworm Species Discovered in Odisha's Koraput, Adding to India's Biodiversity

Koraput (Odisha) | Researchers at the Central University of Odisha (CUO) in collaboration with scientists from Kerala's Mahatma Gandhi University have unearthed two new earthworm species in the eastern state, officials said.

During an earthworm diversity study conducted in different parts of Koraput district, CUO student Ayusmita Naik collected a few large earthworm specimens from the Rani Duduma and the Jeypore ghat areas, said Sharat Kumar Palita, Dean of the School of Biodiversity and Conservation of Natural Resources.

The specimens were carefully examined in the laboratory by the researchers with support from retired scientist of the Zoological Survey of India R Paliwal and earthworm specialists Prasantha Narayanan and A P Thomas of the Advanced Centre of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development, Mahatma Gandhi University, he said.

The earthworm varieties were subsequently identified as two new species – Megascolexjeyporeghatiensis and Megascolexquadripappilatus – which are completely new to science, Palita said.

The discovery of the two new species was recently published in the reputed international taxonomic journal ‘Zootaxa', he said.

The total number of Megascolex species in the world has now increased to 70, of which 34 are found in India, Palita said.

Megascolex species are mostly restricted to the southern portion of the Western Ghats' mountain ranges in the southwest corner of Peninsular India, he added.

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