Melanochlamys droupadi

Facts for Prelims

Melanochlamys droupadi

News: Recently, The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has identified a novel marine species of head-shield sea slug.

About:
• Melanochlamys droupadi is a newly discovered species of head-shield sea slug. It was named after the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.
• Geographical Origin: This species was first sighted off the shores of Digha in West Bengal and Udaipur in Odisha, marking its exclusive habitat.
• Distinctive Features: It is characterized by its short, blunt cylindrical body and smooth dorsal surface adorned with two unequal shields.
• Physical Attributes: It is a small invertebrate reaching up to 7 mm in length, exhibits a brownish-black hue with a striking ruby red spot.
• Biological Nature: It is hermaphroditic (possessing both male and female reproductive organs, structures, and tissue) and predominantly inhabits intertidal zones along sandy beaches.
• Distribution and Taxonomy: While species of the Melanochlamys genus are predominantly found in temperate regions of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, Melanochlamys droupadi stands out as a truly tropical species.
• Research Insights: A study conducted by ZSI researchers sheds light on the species’ behavior, highlighting its unique ability to secrete transparent mucus, forming a protective sheath against sand grains. 

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