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Ghatiana Dwivarna – New Crab Species discovered in Uttara Kannada

Ghatiana Dwivarna – New Crab Species: New Crab Species named Ghatiana Dwivarna has been discovered from Yellapur taluk of Uttara Kannada in Karnataka. Dwivarna is the 75th crab species to be found in India and was discovered by Wildlife enthusiast and photographer Gopal Krishna Hegde and Forest Guard Parashuram Bhajantri. Coincidently the discovery of Ghatiana Dwivarna crab species got scientific acceptance on 15th August 2022, as India celebrated its 75th Independence Day, nearly a year after its discovery.

Accidental Discovery

The discovery of the 75th Crab Species found in India was made accidentally. Hegde and Bhajantri were on a hike in the forest when they witnessed a unique freshwater crab which was a white head and purple body. Attracted by its appearance, they clicked its photographs and reported it to the Zoological Survey of India.

Following this, a research team consisting of Sameer Kumar Pati – Western Regional Centre in Pune, Zoological Survey of India and Tejas Thackeray of Thackeray Wildlife Foundation coupled with Parashuram P Bajantri of Karnataka Forest department and Gopalkrishna D Hegde, formally conducted research to identify the distinct features and nature of the Ghatiana Dwivarna. The discovery was published in Nauplius, the journal of the Brazilian Crustacean Society. Following the discovery, Hegde and Bhajantri have been conferred the title ‘Citizen Scientists.’

Identification And Nomenclature Of Species

According to the research conducted by the team, Ghatiana Dwivarna is a freshwater crab which belongs to the Ghatianagenus. The most striking physical feature of the crab is its colour; the crab has white head and a purple body. In terms of size, a female crab is about 29 x 15 mm while a maleDwivarna crab is 24 x 13 mm.

Dwivarna is found in the holes found in laterite rocks on the elevated mountains of the Central Western Ghats (south of Goa-Nilgiris) region. These crabs feed on mosses and algae as well as small insects of the mosquito family.The name for the newly found crab species was given by Hegde and Bhajantri, who named it Dwivarna. It is a Sanskrit word which means dwi i.e., two and varna i.e., colours, roughly translating todichromatic. Dwivarna is a fitting name for the species due to its white and purple dual-tone colour.

The discovery of Dwivarna takes the total tally of Crab species in the world to 125 out of which 75 are found in India. Of the 75 Indian Carb Species, 13 are from the Ghatiana genus in India.Dwivarna is also the 14th freshwater crab to be found under the Ghatiana genus.

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