Itanagar: Researchers from Rajiv Gandhi University have named a new plant species after Taro Chatung, the pioneer of journalism in Arunachal Pradesh, who died on October 26 last year.
Momang Taram, a research scholar of botany; AP Das, visiting professor; and Dr Hui Tag of Rajiv Gandhi University, Itanagar; discovered the new plant species from Geku, Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The researchers said that their finding was published in the scientific journal Pleione, in which the specific epithet is named on Taro Chatung, the first and the most popular journalist of Arunachal Pradesh whose contribution to journalism in the remote state of Northeast India has been immense and his interest and passion towards his work is admirable. The new species is named as Lysionotus chatungii M.Taram, A.P Das & H.Tag.
The genus Lysionotus D.Don is distributed from north India and Nepal eastwards through South China, Taiwan, Bhutan, Laos, Myanmar, North Thailand, North Vietnam to South Japan. In India, there are six species of Lysionotius and two varieties including this newly described species of which excluding one species, all are found in Arunachal Pradesh.
The species discovered last year in the month of April from Geku at an elevation of 873 metre above sea level at geographical coordination of 28° 272 483 N and 95° 82 103 E.
So far, the new species known only from its type-locality in the Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeastern India can be treated as endemic. The plant was found growing on rocks and on tree-trunks in moist shaded areas along the margin of a narrow but perennial stream. The estimated area of its occurrence is less than 3 km and the population is less than 100 individual. According to the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria (IUCN, 2012) Lysionotus chatungii M.Taram, A.P Das & H. Tag should be assessed as a critically endangered plant.
“We are blessed with rich flora and fauna, there are many species which need their own identity and recognition, but the recent developmental process like mountain cutting, road construction, deforestation, jhumming etc. has led to the depletion in the population of rare endemic species. The government should initiate some conservation action to protect and rehabilitation of the endangered plant species along with the developmental process,” the researchers said.