On the little-known hyporheic biodiversity of India, with annotated checklist of copepods and bathynellaceans (Crustacea) and a note on the disastrous implications of indiscriminate sand mining

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Y.R. Reddy


The vast and ecologically diversified hyporheic realm and the adjacent riparian areas of India have received scant attention from the standpoint of biodiversity studies. Analysis of about 2500 samples collected from the alluvial sediments of certain rivers and streams, besides some bores in the riparian zone, mainly in the coastal deltaic belt of the rivers Krishna and Godavari in Andhra Pradesh State during 2000-2012 yielded 41 copepod and bathynellacean species. Of these, 31 new species have been formally described during the ongoing studies whereas the remainder are previously known ones. An annotated checklist of all these taxa is presented, giving the type locality and other localities of occurrence, methods of sampling, chief references, and also some taxonomic and/or ecological remarks wherever necessary. The harpacticoid copepod family Parastenocarididae and the eumalacostracan order Bathynellacea are two significant, major groups of stygofauna that have been recorded for the first time from India. Both these groups and also some cyclopoid copepods have clear-cut Gondwanan lineages, representing the remnants of unique ancient fauna that require urgent attention from conservationists in order that the overall evolutionary history of the Indian biota is preserved. A note is also added on the devastating influence of the ongoing rampant sand mining activity on the hyporheic biodiversity.

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