Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Environment
Context Recently, researchers have discovered a 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.
- 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.
- 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 km from Cherrapunjee (Sohra) in the East Khasi Hills, Meghalaya.
- The term ‘Mawsmai’ means ‘Oath Stone’ in the Khasi language.
- The Khasi people use the local term ‘Krem’ for the cave.
- Mawsmai cave indirectly influenced by the streams of the Kynshi river originating from the East Khasi Hills.