Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have discovered a new species of insectivorous mammal, a white-toothed shrew, from Narcondam Island of the Andaman and Nicobar group of islands.
With this discovery the number of mammals found in the country have increased from 429 to 430.
About white-toothed shrew
- The species Crocidura narcondamica is a new addition to the list of mammals found in the country.
- Shrews are small and mouse-like mammals, and they live in sub-leaf stratum in the forests.
- Insects are the primary diet of these animals.
- This is the first discovery of a shrew from this volcanic island (Narcondam Island) and it increases the number of White-toothed shrew (genus Crocidura) species in India from 11to 12.
- The new species is of medium size (head and body lengths) and has a distinct external morphology with darker grey dense fur with a thick, darker tail compared to other species of the genus.
- Craniodental characters of the species such as braincase was rounded and elevated with weak lambdoidal ridges makes the species distinct in comparison to other close congeners.
- The new white-toothed shrew species is named after the type locality, Narcondam Island regarded as a volcanic island situated in the Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago, India: Narcondam Shrew Crocidura norcondamica.
About Narcondam Island
- Located about 130 km east of North Andaman, and about 446 km of the west coast of Myanmar.
- The isolated island covers an area of 6.8 km2 and the highest peak (volcanic cone) is 710 m above sea level; however, the base lies approximately 1,500 m beneath the sea.
- This thickly vegetated island is bordered by cliffs on the southern side and crested by three peaks is part of a volcanic arc that continues northward from Sumatra to Myanmar.
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