Micro Snail Species Discovered In Meghalaya’s Mawsmai Cave

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Recently a micro snail species named Georissa mawsmaiensis has been discovered from Mawsmai, a limestone cave in Meghalaya.

  • The last time a species of the Georissa genus was discovered in India was 170 years ago in 1851.
  • It was in 1851 that Georissa saritta, a member of the same genus as the latest find, was collected and described from the Musmai (Mawsmai today) valley near Cherrapunjee by WH Benson.
  • The discovery this time has been reported in the Journal of Conchology. 
  • The members of the Georissa genus are widely distributed across and reported from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. However, they are confined to microhabitats consisting of limestone caves or karst landscapes formed by the dissolution of limestone.
  • Georissa is found in soil or subterranean habitats in lowland tropical forest as well as high altitude evergreen forests or on rock surfaces rich in calcium.

The Mawsmai

  • The Mawsmai cave is situated in the small village of Mawsmai, around four kilometres from Cherrapunjee (Sohra) in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya. 
  • The term ‘Mawsmai’ means ‘Oath Stone’ in the Khasi language. 
  • The Khasi people use the local term ‘Krem’ for the cave.
  • Mawsmai cave is located at an altitude of 1,195 metres above sea level and is indirectly influenced by the streams of the Kynshi river originating from the East Khasi Hills.
  • Some changes have been made to increase the aesthetics of the cave, such as artificial lights and cemented floor and steps. 
  • These changes, along with the high tourist influx, may pose threat to this micro snail species including other cave faunas.


Source : downtoearth.org.in

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