In news- Recently, researchers have discovered a micro micro snail species named Georissa mawsmaiensis in Mawsmai Cave in Meghalaya.
About the new snail species-
- These snails are so small in size that an adult measures less than 2 millimetres in length.
- These new species were discovered by researchers from Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bengaluru.
- It has been discovered after 170 years.
- 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.
- 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.
- Compared to the earlier one, the new species is different in its shell morphology, starting from shell size variation to the presence of four very prominent spiral striations on body whorls of the shell.
- Until now, five snail species have been found from the caves of Meghalaya.
- It 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.