Two new species of aquatic snails discovered from Thimphu

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A team from the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests and the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands has discovered two species of aquatic snails, which are new to science. The new snails are named as Erhaia benjii and Tricula tashiae. Now, Bhutan has five species of snails from the genus Erhaia, and two species from the genus Tricula. The journal article is published in the journal Basteria, 2023 describing the new species.

Erhaia benjii is named in honor of Dasho Paljor J. Dorji (popularly known as Dasho Benji) for his eternal contribution to the environmental and biodiversity conservation in the country. He is a pioneer environmentalist and conservationist in Bhutan.

Tricula tashiae is named in honor of Dr. Tashi Yangzome Dorji, former Program Director of the National Biodiversity Centre and current Director of Department of Livestock, for her support in spearheading the National Invertebrates Inventory project in Bhutan and her role in enhancing biodiversity conservation and sustainable utilization in the country.

Both the species Erhaia benjii and Tricula tashiae were collected in a temperate forest from damp mud along two tiny streams, 15 meters apart. The tiny spring freshwater is of pH ca. 6.5. The specimens were collected by Choki Gyeltshen of the National Biodiversity Centre and his friend Phuntsho Namgyel in May 2022. The temperate forests consist of blue pine, few oak species, rhododendron species, poplar and some bamboo species.

The specimens including the holotypes are deposited at the National Invertebrates Repository under NBC. The species were determined using morphological and DNA analysis.

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