539 new species on the block
AS MANY as 300 new species of fauna and 239 of flora have been discovered in the country in 2017, according to the reports released by the Zoological Survey of India and the Botanical Survey of India. Among the animal discoveries are 241 invertebrates while the vertebrates include 27 species of fish, 18 amphibians and 12 reptiles. A new fossil reptilian species, Shringasaurus indicus; a frog species, Nasikabatrachus bhupathi, with snout-shaped nose like a pig; and a snake, Rhabdops aquaticus (shown in the picture), found in the northern Western Ghats, are some of the important discoveries. Scientists have also discovered 20 species of balsams and three species each of wild banana and jamun. The number of animal species in India now stands at 101,167, contributing 6.45 per cent to the world's fauna while that of plant species has increased to 49,003 or 11.4 per cent of the flora in the world.