India added 540 species to its faunal database in 2021 taking the total number of animal species to 1,03,258.
The country also added 315 taxa to the Indian flora during 2021, taking the number of floral taxa in the country to 55,048.
Of the 540 faunal species, 406 are new discoveries and 134 new records to India.
Thirteen new genera were also discovered in 2021.
Among the new species discovered is one species from mammal, 35 reptiles and 19 species of pisces.
The new mammal species discovered is Crociduranarcondamica, a white-toothed shrew, from Narcondam Island of the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands.
Among the reptiles discovered in 2021, notable is Boigawhitakeri, or Whitaker’s cat snake, from the Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu.
The most number of new discoveries was from the faunal group Hymenoptera, an order of insects, comprising the sawflies, wasps, bees, and ants, in which 80 species, including one new genus, were discovered.
The scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) had contributed to 68% of the animal discoveries in 2021.
With 1.03 lakh species of fauna, India contributes to 6.1% of faunal diversity in the world.
Forty-three per cent novelties published in various national and international journals are of vascular plants; the rest are non-vascular in nature.
Regions such as the Western Ghats and the northeastern regions have contributed 28% of the total discoveries.
In State-wise analysis, the most number of discoveries were made from Kerala with 51 taxa followed by Maharashtra and Arunachal Pradesh.
In 2021, the floral discoveries include wild relatives of many potential horticultural, agricultural, medicinal, and ornamental plants such as begonia, impatiens (Balsams), legumes, zingibers and orchids.
Zoological Survey of India (ZSI)
The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is the premier taxonomic research organization in India.
It was established on 1 July 1916to promote surveys, exploration and research leading to advancement of our knowledge of various aspects of the exceptionally rich animal life of India.
The ZSI had its genesis as the Zoological Section of the Indian Museum at Calcutta in 1875.
Since its inception, the ZSI has been documenting the diversity and distribution of the fauna of India towards carrying out its mandate of conducting exploration-cum-taxonomic-research programmes.
The ZSI has published an extremely large amount of information on all animal taxa, from Protozoa to Mammalia. This information is a boon to researchers, students, conservation managers and amateur naturalists.