During last year, field biologists discovered 176 species of animals from India which are new to science, said Zoological Survey of India in a statement. ZSI is responsible for animal taxonomy under the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change.
Insects, which usually escape attention due to their size in areas with dense undergrowth, lead the pack with 93 new species. The list also includes 23 species of fishes, 24 amphibian species like frogs and toads, 2 species of reptiles, 12 species of arachnida(spiders) and 12 crustacean species like crabs, lobster and shrimp.
Most of these discoveries have been made by ZSI scientists working across the country. "The species we have discovered are available only from a very small geographical area. Therefore they may be on the verge of extinction already. Habitat destruction is the main cause," ZSI director Dr K Venkataraman said.
India has two global biodiversity hot spots, Eastern Himalayas and the Western Ghats. Many of the new species have been found in biodiversity-rich areas around the Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats and Northeast states.