What is Melanochlamys Droupadi?

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What is Melanochlamys Droupadi? Blog Image


Researchers of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) recently discovered a new species of head-shield sea slug from Odisha and the West Bengal coast named ‘Melanochlamys Droupadi’.

About Melanochlamys Droupadi

  • It is a new marine species of head-shield sea slug with ruby red spot.
  • This species belonging to Melanochlamys genus was discovered from Digha of West Bengal coast and Udaipur of Odisha coast.
  • Features:
    • It is a small invertebrate with a maximum length of up to 7 mm.
    • Habitat: It inhabits wet and soft sandy beaches.
    • It is brownish black in colour with a ruby red spot in the hind end.
    • This particular species of sea slug is hermaphrodite (having both male and female reproductive parts); however, they need another sea slug for reproduction.
    • It has a shell inside the body. It has a posterior, accounting for 61 percent of its body length.
    • It continuously secretes transparent mucus to form a sheath that prevents sand grains from entering parapodial space.
    • It crawls beneath smooth sand to form a moving capsule where the body is rarely visible, leaving behind a trail like a turtle.

What are Sea Slugs?

  • Sea slugs are a group of molluscs that live primarily in marine habitats and are slug-like. 
  • They can be found from the shallow intertidal to the deep sea and from the polar regions to the tropics.
  • The sea slugs are rapid hunters and feed upon mobile prey such as other shelled and unshelled sea slugs, roundworms, marine worms, and small fishes.
  • So far, 18 species have been discovered across the globe.
    • They are distributed in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Oceanic realm, but three species are truly tropically distributed, Melanochlamys papillata from the Gulf of Thailand, Melanochlamys bengalensis from West Bengal and Odisha coast and the present species.

Q1) What are invertebrates?

Invertebrate is any animal that lacks a vertebral column, or backbone, in contrast to the cartilaginous or bony vertebrates. More than 90 percent of all living animal species are invertebrates. Worldwide in distribution, they include animals as diverse as sea stars, sea urchins, earthworms, sponges, jellyfish, lobsters, crabs, insects, spiders, snails, clams, and squid. 

Source: Zoologists spot new sea slug species, name it after Prez