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New Legless Amphibian Found

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 30th, 2007

legless amphibian

A new species of legless amphibian discovered by an Indian research team. The dispatch from Panaji gives the details:

The significant discovery at Keri village, 20 km from the Mhadei dam site in Goa, highlights the wealth of biodiversity in the Western Ghats.

The earthworm-like creature has been named Geneophis goansis. It is the first species to be named after Goa, which is tucked in the lap of the Sahyadri hill ranges.

The construction of a dam across the Mhadei river on the Goa-Karnataka border has sparked a row between the neighbours. The dispute is now in the Supreme Court.

“It is… a brand new species,” Nirmal Kulkarni, an environmentalist and a team member, said. The team also comprises Dr. Gopalkrishna Bhat (Professor of Zoology, MGM College, Udupi), Dinesh K. (Zoological Survey of India, Kochi), Nirmal Kulkarni (Goan researcher) and Prashanth P. (Agumbe Rainforest Research Station, Karnataka).

“We came across the two specimens… in 2004. Since then we have been on the lookout for further sightings to confirm the findings,” Mr. Kulkarni said. They finally spotted the species under rotting vegetation during the last monsoon. “Molecular studies confirmed that this is a new species, which adds to the existing seven species of the genus Geniophis which is endemic to the Western Ghats,” a team member said.

The discovery “will further support the reasoning behind the opposition to any human development in these hill ranges bordering Goa-Maharashtra and Karnataka,” one expert said. “This discovery further proves the need for extreme caution in dealing with the region. Any wrong act will endanger these species, which would be forever lost to mankind and science,” added Mr. Kulkarni.

The environmentalists pointed out that projects like the Mhadei dam would severely affect the biodiversity of the Sahyadri ranges, which have remained largely pristine. — PTI

Source: January 31, 2007, published in The Hindu, India’s National Newspaper, “New Legless Amphibian Species Found.”

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.


8 Responses to “New Legless Amphibian Found”

  1. Pete.Wilson responds:

    I sometimes wonder. How would you tell the difference in reptiles from a new species versus a genetic mutation, given all of the issues and problems within the reptile community over the last 15-20 years in various part of the world? I would think it would be even worse in some 3rd world or other developing countries.

  2. heinselman responds:

    The news came about a few weeks ago , but was not broadcast around much.

    In the Times News Network for January 19, 2007 they show the amphibian, and another name for it “immandehavu”.

    See the pdf file here: Zootaxa.

    Craig Heinselman
    Peterborough, NH

  3. Selrach responds:

    India is pretty densely populated, and yet we discover a “new ” species.

    Seems possible there may still be a mongolian death worm waiting for us in the gobi.

  4. springheeledjack responds:

    good call selrach! I am always amazed at how little people pay attention to their environment and the world around them. It is awfulllllly easy to miss things.

    People assume that with 6 billion plus bodies on the planet, that every square inch of earth and water is mapped out and has been explored so that nothing new is out there. Most people couldnt’ tell you everything living in their own backyard.

    cool discovery is what I am getting at:)

  5. Mnynames responds:

    A few years ago there was a new waterfall discovered in Yosemite National Park. If we can’t even find a waterfall in our own backyard, is it any wonder a burrowing Caecilian can remain hidden?

  6. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Pete – to answer the question on distinguishing genetic mutants from separate species, they can do so using DNA.

    A friend of mine is a marine biologist specialising in invertebrates. He has frequently found new species of crayfish (fresh and salt and the like), shrimp and so on.

    Usually, the first step when he suspects a new species is to take a tissue sample to be used for DNA analysis. Then, if the results show that the sequencing is sufficiently different to other known species, permission is sought to secure a number of specimens to be used for the type description.

    You can have a quick flashback to the Malaysian bigfoot debacle where this subject came up in the context of having to kill a bigfoot to proove it’s a new species.

  7. mystery_man responds:

    I wonder if this creature was ethnoknown at all? Perhaps people living in the area knew all about this creature and don’t know what all the fuss is over? A creature isn’t really a new species until a scientist finds it and documents it, but I have a feeling there are a lot of “new species” out there that the native people know all about. This could even include some of our more major cryptids. They might find a body of, say, Mokele Mbembe and it is going to be this big sensation but the natives will be thinking “Duh! We’ve been telling you they are there all along!”

  8. shumway10973 responds:

    First of all, Molecular studies? Are they talking DNA? Personally, I could never tell those things appart from nightcrawlers. I’m glad they found them, but something tells me most are saying, “So what?”



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