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22th December 2023 (10 Topics)

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Species in News

Black Tiger

As per the 2022 cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation, 16 individuals were recorded at Similipal Tiger Reserve, out of which 10 were melanistic.

About the Species:

  • Black Tigers are a rare colour variant of the Bengal tiger and are not a distinct species or geographic subspecies.
  • The coat colouration and patterning that make the wild cats appears dark boil down to a single mutation in the Transmembrane Aminopeptidase Q (Taqpep) gene.
  • Pseudo Melanistic:
    • The abnormally dark or black coat in such tigers is termed pseudo melanistic or false coloured.
    • Melanistic refers to having very dark skin/hair due to higher-than-normal level of the pigment (substance that gives pigmentation to skin/hair is called melanin).
    • There is a high probability (about 60%) that the tiger will have the mutant gene, if randomly selected from Similipal.

Similipal Tiger Reserve:

  • It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and brought under Project Tiger in the year 1973.
  • It was declared a biosphere reserve by the Government of India in June, 1994.
  • It has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserve since 2009.

Species in News

A nocturnal flying squirrel has resurfaced in Arunachal Pradesh after going missing for 42 years.

About the Species:

  • Geographic Range: It ranges from the eastern border regions of Afghanistan to Java and from Kashmir, Taiwan, and southern China to Sri Lanka.
  • Its greatest numbers are found in the forest regions of Pakistan.
  • Physical Features:
    • The giant flying squirrel has a distinctive, thickly haired flying membrane that extends from its wrists to its hind legs and is further expanded by a skin fold between the tail root and the hind legs

    • This membrane is composed of sheets of muscles that can be tensed or relaxed at will, thus controlling the direction of glide.
    • Petaurista petaurista is characterized by its large eyes and mahogany-red coloring, though coloration varies with environment.
  • Relative to other squirrels, this species is very large; its head and body length average 398mm and its tail adds an additional 422mm.
  • The lifespan of these squirrels can be up to 16 years in captivity.
  • They do not hibernate, but they may migrate to areas where food is more abundant.


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