Shoolini Researcher Makes History. Discovers New Species 

Shoolini Researcher, Shivani Devi a PhD student from the Faculty of Science at Shoolini University, under the mentorship of Prof JM Julka, has made a groundbreaking discovery in the field of arachnology. Hailing from Una in Himachal Pradesh, she was elated at being supported by the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. This radical work was commissioned by the Government of India. 

Shivani has identified a new genus and species of ‘harvestmen’, a remarkable addition to the scientific community’s understanding of these unique creatures. ‘Harvestmen’, commonly mistaken for spiders, are part of the order Opiliones. They are often referred to as “daddy-longlegs” in the United States, which can lead to confusion with cellar spiders. However, these newly discovered species stand out for their distinctive characteristics. 

This discovery not only adds to the biodiversity of the region but also highlights the potential for further scientific exploration. The research conducted by Shivani Devi and Prof Julka showcases the rich and diverse ecosystem, waiting to be explored and understood. 

What sparked this remarkable discovery? The journey began with a mission that went beyond mere curiosity — it was a mission of conservation. The discovery emerged from a larger project named ‘Returning Taxus to the Forests and the People: A Study in Shimla and Kullu Districts of the Indian Himalayan Region’, funded by the National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS). This project aimed to investigate the invertebrates and soil fauna associated with Taxus contorta, also known as the West Himalayan Yew, an endangered tree species in the region. 

The research was conducted in the villages of Himri and Nankhari in Shimla district, where pitfall traps were employed to collect arthropods. These traps, made of plastic cups buried in the soil and filled with a soap solution, were left out for 24 hours to capture specimens. 

Upon initial collection, the newly discovered ‘harvestmen’ species was suspected to be unique. To confirm this, samples were sent to Jochen Martens, a German zoologist, for examination. His analysis confirmed that the specimen represented a new genus and species of ‘harvestmen’ from the temperate Himalayas. 

The newly discovered genus and species was named ‘Himachalus Pradeshicus’ in honour of Himachal Pradesh, the Indian state where it was found. This significant finding was published in a renowned Swiss journal, contributing to our understanding of the Himalayan region’s biodiversity. 

For those interested, the full article is available here: Himachalus Pradeshicus: An Unusual New Harvestman Genus and Species from the Indian Himalayas

Talking to Shoolini IMPACT, Shoolini Researcher, Shivani Devi said, “Tapping into the vast biodiversity of the Himalayas to discover ‘Himachalus Pradeshicus’ has been thrilling. This will enhance our understanding of the unique environments. I’m grateful for the unwavering support and resources provided by Shoolini University, which made this research possible.”

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Shoolini Team
Shoolini Team
The Shoolini University Blog offers a range of articles on career options, opportunities and the latest industry trends. Articles cover areas of agriculture, pharmacy, biotechnology, microbiology, management, media, liberal arts etc.

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