Six new species of water beetle found in Manipur wetlands
Scientists have discovered six new species of water beetle in water bodies of the north eastern state of Manipur.
These species are new to India. The species that helps in nutrient recycling and improving food chain in water bodies were discovered as part of a three year study on importance of aquatic beetle (coleoptera) in fresh eco-systems of Manipur.
“In fact, 22 water beetles (out of 65 recorded, belonging to coleoptera order) were reported for the first time in Manipur in our study across nine wetland sites under eight districts,” said senior research fellow O Sandhyarani.
“These beetles from Manipur belong to different families. Six of them are new to India”.
The Kolkata-based Zoological Survey of India maintains the list of water beetles discovered in India, most in the rainy areas of north-east and Western Ghats. “Its latest edition does not mention these six species and therefore, they are new to India,” Dr M Bhubaneshwari Devi, lead researcher of the project, said, adding that the aquatic beetles are an indicator of health of a wetland.
“They are important in aquatic ecosystems both in larval and adult stages as they are responsible for nutrient recycling and natural food web in the freshwater eco-systems,” she said.
The beetles consume aquatic species like fleas, flatworms, mosquito larvae and frog tadpoles to maintain flood balance in the water system.
Although these species are new to Indian science, locals popularly call them Tharaikokpi macha (means beetle in local language) and have known them for years.