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224 new species of plants and 372 animal species discovered in India last year (Relevant for GS Prelims; Environment & Biodiversity)

Scientists and taxonomists have documented 596 new species, 224 of flora and 372 of fauna from India in the year 2018. The details of the discoveries were shared by the Botanical Survey of India (BSI) and the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in the publications Plant Discoveries 2018 and Animal Discoveries 2018 .

About 31% of the plant species were discovered in the Himayalas. In the case of animals, the Western Ghats remained a biological hotspot from where about 50% of the species were found.

Important flora discoveries
The plants discovered this year includes close wild relatives of many potential horticulture, agriculture, medicinal and ornamental plants. The discoveries include plants belonging to groups Amomum (wild cardamom), Cycads, Rubus (raspberry), Syzygium (wild jamun), Terminalia, Balsams, Zingibers and also seven trees and 10 orchids.

Kerala recorded the highest number of discoveries with 59 species. West Bengal, a state with both Himalayan and coastal ecosystems, recorded 38 and Tamil Nadu recorded 26.

Total number of Species in India
With these new discoveries, the updated list of animal species in India has risen to 1,01,681 which is about 6.49% of all the species in the world.

The number of plant species in the country has been updated to 49,441 which is 11.5% of all flora in the world.

Last year, 539 new species of plants and animals were discovered, which included 300 species of animals and 239 species and sub-species of plants.

(Source:https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/ecologists-have-596-reasons-to-cheer/article27586479.ece)



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