Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of water strider from Nagaland.
Know about new species:
- The species, named Ptilomera nagalanda Jehamalar and Chandra, was found in the river Intanki, Peren district.
- The presence of black stripes on the dorsal side differentiates this species from other known species of the subgenus Ptilomera. The discovery was published in the science journal Zootaxa.
- unique about Ptilomera is that they are only found in rocky, fast flowing streams and rivers that are not exposed to a lot of sunlight.
- Ptilomera has hair on the middle legs that help the insects resist the strong current of streams.
What are these Water striders?
- Water striders are a group of insects adapted to life on the surface of water, using surface tension to their advantage.
- So far, only five species of water striders under the subgenus Ptilomera were known in India.
- These includes Ptilomera agriodes found in peninsular India, Ptilomera assamensis found in northeastern India, Ptilomera laticaudata, northern and northeastern India, Pltilomera occidentalis from Uttarakhand and Ptilomera tigrina found in the Andaman islands.
- With the discovery of Ptilomera nagalanda the number of species of water striders belonging to the subgenus has increased to six.
- Water striders have three pairs of legs.
- The front legs are relatively shorter than the mid and hind legs and used to catch and hold prey. The striders possess needle-like mouth parts that are used for sucking the juice of prey.
Significance of Water striders:
- Water striders also play an important role in the food chain by feeding on mosquito larvae.
- Their presence serves as an indicator water of water quality and they are found on water surface.
Know about ZSI:
- The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), founded on 1 July 1916 by Government of India Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, as premier Indian organisation in zoological research and studies to promote the survey, exploration and research of the fauna in the country.