White-toothed shrew discovered in Andamans’ Narcondam Island

Context

  • 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.

    white-toothed shrew
    Source: The Hindu

  • 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.

Source: The Hindu


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