3 new species of earthworms found from Western Ghats
Kottayam: Three new species of earthworms that belong to Moniligaster genus were found from the Western Ghats. The earthworm research team of the Advanced Centre of Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development in the Mahatma Gandhi University found the new species identified as Moniligaster Bahli, Moniligaster Blakemorei and Moniligaster Keralensis.
Apart from this, four other species of earthworms, which were found in other states 80 years ago, have been spotted in Kerala for the first time. The findings were published in the international research journal Zootaxa which is published from New Zealand.
Two of the newly found species were named after noted Indian Zoologist Professor K N Bahl and earthworm taxonomist Dr Robert J Blakemore. The third one was named after Kerala. An earthworm is named after the state for the first time.
Moniligaster Bahli was found at three places in Parambikkulam Tiger Sanctuary while Moniligaster Blakemorei was found from two places in Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts and Moniligaster Keralensis from 10 places in Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kollam districts.
It is assumed that the ancestors of Moniligaster earthworms exist about 2 crore years ago. A research team including Dr S Prashanth Narayanan, S Sathrumithra, R Anuja, Dr J Christofer, Dr A P Thomas and Dr J M Jhulka conducted the research.