Research Highlight

New mammal species discovered in the Andaman islands

doi:10.1038/nindia.2021.65 Published online 4 May 2021

Crocidura narcondamica discovered from the Andaman group of islands.

© Kamalakannan, M. et al.

Scientists at the Zoological Survey of India have discovered a new species of shrew from the Narcondam volcanic island in the Andaman and Nicobar conglomerate nestled in the Bay of Bengal. They have named it Crocidura narcondamica sp. nov. 

Using morphological and molecular approaches, the researchers confirmed that the newly discovered species has external morphology, skull and dental characters distinct from its close shrew cousins. Crocidura narcondamica has darker grey dense fur with a thick, darker tail and its braincase is rounded and elevated with weak lambdoidal ridges.

They found the shrew in the littoral forest along the coastline of the volcanic island at an elevation of 11 metres. The humid, tropical island has thick vegetation and almost no anthropogenic disturbances. 

The researchers say this is the first discovery of a shrew from this volcanic island and increases the total number of Crocidura species catalogued in the Indian checklist of mammals to 12. The species is also genetically distant from other Crocidura species found in mainland India, the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, Myanmar and Sumatra.


References

1. Kamalakannan, M. et al. Discovery of a new mammal species (Soricidae: Eulipotyphla) from Narcondam volcanic island, India. Sci. Rep. 11, 9416 (2021). Doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-88859-4