Green Minute News:
A new species of the Freshwater Crab Genus Ghatiana has been discovered in central Western Ghats. Ghatiana dvivarna was found by researchers in Yellapur, Karnataka state highlighting the urgent need to protect the Western Ghats and its rich biodiversity.
The research team members included Sameer Kumar Pati (Zoological Survey of India), Tejas Thackeray (Thackeray Wildlife Foundation), Parashuram Prabhu Bhajantri (Karnataka Forest Department) and Gopalkrishna Dattatreya Hegde (researcher). The discovery has been published in Nauplius, Journal of Brazilian Crustacean Society.
According to scientific studies, it is estimated that there are 4000 species of crabs in the world. 125 different species of crabs have been identified in India. So far, 13 different species of freshwater crabs have been identified in the Ghatiana genus. And “Ghatiana Dvivarna” is the 14th freshwater crab found while a total of 75 different species of crabs have been identified in the Western Ghats which is known as the World’s Eighth Biodiversity hotspot.
It is a matter of pride that the 75th crab species has been discovered in the Western Ghats on the occasion of 75th year of Independence. Ghatiana species of crabs are beautiful, colourful and attractive. The research team said that the newly discovered crab has been named “dvivarna” as in Sanskrit it means bi-colour with its body colour being white and long legs red-violet.
These crabs inhabit holes or crevices in the laterite rocks of the Western Ghats. It was seen in elevated mountains of the central Western Ghats in rocky outcrops with grassy vegetation in Uttar Kannada district. They feed on small worms and algae. In fact, crabs help maintain the balance of the ecosystem. According to Manjunath S Nayak, Biodiversity Researcher, crabs play an important role in the food chain and help maintain the balance of ecosystems. Due to habitat destruction, many species of animals are on the verge of extinction and for their survival, Western Ghats should be protected.
Western Ghats is the World’s eighth biodiversity hotspot being a treasure house of rare and endemic species. So, further research has been undertaken in Karnataka with the state Forest Department staff still engaged in this work. This research is a motivation and inspiration for the department staff.