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New Sea Slug species named after President discovered

Researchers from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) have made a significant discovery along the coasts of Odisha and West Bengal, identifying a new species of head-shield sea slug. Named Melanochlamys Droupadi after the President of India, Droupadi Murmu, the sea slug exhibits distinct features, including a ruby red spot, and is found in the wet and soft sandy beaches of the region.

Led by Prasad Chandra Tudu of the Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre, ZSI zoologists spotted the species during a routine study at Hospital Ghat near Old Digha. The discovery was confirmed through thorough examination of morphological, anatomical, and molecular characteristics. The sea slug, measuring up to seven mm in length, is characterized by its brownish-black coloration and hermaphroditic nature, with a shell inside the body.

Sharing its habitat with a related species, Melanochlamys bengalensis, discovered in 2022, Melanochlamys Droupadi distinguishes itself through its smaller size and unique coloration. With only 18 species of head-shield sea slugs identified worldwide, this finding contributes to our understanding of marine biodiversity. The study, led by Tudu and published in the Mollusca Research journal, underscores the importance of continued research and conservation efforts in marine ecosystems.


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