New Marine Species Named Melanochlamys droupadi Discovered

  • 01 Mar 2024

Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has recently identified a new marine species, Melanochlamys droupadi found along the West Bengal and Odisha coast. The species has been named after President of India Droupadi Murmu.

Key Points

  • Unveiling Melanochlamys droupadi: ZSI announces the discovery of Melanochlamys droupadi, a new species of head-shield sea slug, distinct for its ruby red spot, found exclusively on the West Bengal and Odisha coast.
  • Unique Characteristics: Described morphologically by a short, blunt, cylindrical body and smooth dorsal surface, Melanochlamys droupadi showcases two distinct dorsal shields, setting it apart from its counterparts.
  • Habitat and Behaviour: This small invertebrate, measuring up to 7 mm, displays a brownish-black hue with a notable ruby red spot.
  • Its habitat spans the intertidal zone, leaving crawl marks along sandy beaches. Reproduction occurs between November and January.
  • Research Insights: Melanochlamys droupadi showcases unique behaviour, secreting transparent mucus to form a protective sheath against sand grains, enabling it to navigate smoothly beneath the sand.
  • Distribution: While species of the Melanochlamys genus are typically found in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Oceanic realm, Melanochlamys droupadi adds to the three truly tropical species, including Melanochlamys bengalensis, found along the West Bengal and Odisha coast.
  • Preservation Efforts: Type specimens of Melanochlamys droupadi have been deposited in Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre, Digha, and Estuarine Biology and Regional Centre, Gopalpur, aiding further research and conservation efforts.