Molecular investigation of Cavernicoles from Kotumsar Cave in Northern Eastern Ghats, India


  • Freshwater Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Hyderabad − 500048, Telangana
  • Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Molecular Systematics Division, Zoological Survey of India, M Block, New Alipore, Kolkata − 700053, West Bengal
  • Freshwater Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Hyderabad − 500048, Telangana
  • House No. 2-60, Village Turkapalle, Nalgonda − 508266, Telangana
  • Freshwater Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Hyderabad − 500048, Telangana
  • Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Molecular Systematics Division, Zoological Survey of India, M Block, New Alipore, Kolkata − 700053, West Bengal
  • Centre for DNA Taxonomy, Molecular Systematics Division, Zoological Survey of India, M Block, New Alipore, Kolkata − 700053, West Bengal
  • Freshwater Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Hyderabad − 500048, Telangana



Cave Fauna, Conservation, DNA Barcoding, Environmental DNA (eDNA), New Record


The Kotumsar cave is situated in the Eastern Ghats and has been reported by the existence of 14 different organisms morphologically. To reassess the living taxa and hitherto unreported organisms, intervention of molecular tool is required to corroborate the exact faunal diversity. In the present study, we dealt with the environmental samples and opportunistically encountered living specimens from both deep and transition zones of the Kotumsar cave. The morphological and integrated approach confirmed the existence of Rhinolophus rouxii (Medellin et al., 2017) (bat), Kempiola shankari Sinha and Agarwal, 1977 (cricket), Heteropoda leprosa Simon, 1884 (spider). Further, the collected environmental DNA (eDNA) samples were successfully identified as Fejervarya pierrei (Dubois, 1975) (frog), Indoreonectes evezardi (Day, 1872) (fish), Metrocoris sp. (true bug), Barytelphusa cunicularis (Westwood, 1836) (crab), Trigoniulidae sp. (millipede), and Megascolecidae sp. (worm). Hence, the present investigation through combined approaches by both morphological and molecular data helps to add six more organisms to the faunal checklist of Kotumsar cave. The study also contributed the genetic information of cavernicoles in the global database from India. This genetic information would further help to pursuing other biological studies and adopt better conservation strategies of cave-dwelling organisms and restoration of the colligated ecosystem.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Amin Laskar, B., Kundu, S., Sulthana, R., Adimalla, H., Jaiswal, D., Tyagi, K., … Chandra, K. (2021). Molecular investigation of Cavernicoles from Kotumsar Cave in Northern Eastern Ghats, India. Records of the Zoological Survey of India, 121(3), 337–345.





Banafar, A.S. and Biswas, J. 2016. Hathipol: Biodiversity of a Tunnel ‘Cave’ of Chhattisgarh, India. Amb. Sci., 03: 52-54. https://doi. org/10.21276/ambi.2016.03.1.nn02.

Barr, T.C. 1968. Cave ecology and the evolution of troglobites. Evol. Biol., 2: 35-102.

Barrett, R.D. and Hebert, P.D. 2005. Identifying spiders through DNA barcodes. Can. J. Zool., 83: 481-491. z05-024.

Beron, P. 2015. Comparative study of the invertebrate cave faunas of Southeast Asia and New Guinea. Hist. Nat. Bulg., 21: 169-210.

Bhargava, H.N., Jain, A.K. and Singh, D. 1984. On background related chromatic response in the cave fish Nemacheilus evezardi (Day). J. Anim. Morphol. Physiol., 31: 203-209.

Biswas, J. 1992a. Influence of epigean environmental stress on a subterranean cave ecosystem: Kotumsar. Biome, 5: 39-43.

Biswas, J. 1992b. Kotumsar Cave ecosystem: An interaction between geophysical, chemical and biological characteristics. NSS Bull., 54: 7-10.

Biswas, J. 1993. Constructive evolution: Phylogenetic age related visual sensibility in the hypogean fish on Kotumsar Cave. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. India, 63: 181-187.

Biswas, J. 2009. The biodiversity of Krem Mawkhyrdop of Meghalaya, India, on the verge of extinction. Curr. Sci., 96: 10.

Biswas, J. 2010. Kotumsar Cave biodiversity: A review of cavernicoles and their troglobiotic traits. Biodivers. Conserv., 19: 275-289.

Biswas, J. and Shrotriya, S. 2011. Dandak: A mammalian dominated cave ecosystem of India. Subterranean. Biol., 8: 1-7.

Buhlmann, K.A. 2001. A biological inventory of eight caves in northwestern Georgia with conservation implications. J. Caves. Karst. Stud., 63: 91-98.

Chakravorty, R. 2008. Mammalia. In: Vertebrate Fauna of Kangerghati, Guru Ghasidas and Sanjay National Park, Conservation Area Series 36. Director, Zoological Survey, India, Kolkata; p. 264.

Chatterjee, S., Caleb, J.T.D., Tyagi, K., Kundu, S. and Kumar, V. 2017. First report of Menemerus nigli Wesolowska & Freudenschuss (Araneae: Salticidae) from India. Halteres, 8: 109-111.

Chirstman, M.C. and Culver, D.C. 2001. The relationship between cave biodiversity and available habitat. J. Biogeogr., 28: 367-380.

Culver, D.C. and Pipan, T. 2009. The Biology of Caves and other Subterranean Habitats. Oxford University Press; p. 254.

Deiner, K., Fronhofer, E.A., Machler, E., Walser, J.C. and Altermatt, F. 2016. Environmental DNA reveals that rivers are conveyer belts of biodiversity information. Nat. Commun., 7: 12544. PMid:27572523 PMCid:PMC5013555.

Disney, R.H.L. 2009. Scuttle flies (Diptera: Phoridae) from caves in Meghalaya, India. J. Caves. Karst. Stud., 71: 81-85.

Folmer, O., Hoeh, W.R., Black, M.B. and Vrijenhoek, R.C. 1994. Conserved primers for PCR amplification of mitochondrial DNA from different invertebrate phyla. Mol. Mar. Biol. Biotechnol., 3: 294-299.

Gravely, F.H. 1931. Some Indian spiders of the families Ctenidae, Sparassidae, Selenopidae and Clubionidae. Rec. Ind. Mus. Cal., 33: 211-282.

Harries, D.B., Ware, F.J., Fischer, C.W., Biswas, J. and Kharprandaly, B.D. 2008. A review of the biospeleology of Meghalaya, India. J. Caves. Karst. Stud., 70: 163-176.

Hildreth-Werker, V. and Werker, J.C. 2006. Cave conservation and restoration. Alabama: National Speleological Society, Inc., Carlsbad, New Mexico U.S.A.; p. 1-644.

Kotaki, M., Kurabayashi, A., Matsui, M., Kuramoto, M., Djong, T.H. and Sumida, M. 2010. Molecular phylogeny of the diversified frogs of genus Fejervarya (Anura: Dicroglossidae). Zoolog. Sci., 27: 386-395. PMid:20443685.

Kottelat, M., Harries, D.R. and Proudlove, G.S. 2007. Schistura papulifera, a new species of cave loach from Meghalaya, India (Teleostei: Balitoridae). Zootaxa, 1393: 35-44.

Kumar, V., Chandra, K., Kundu, S., Tyagi, K., Laskar, B.A., Singha, D., Chakraborty, R. and Pakrashi, A. 2019. Utility of mitochondrial DNA in wildlife forensic science: reliable identification of confiscated materials from Eastern India. Mitochondrial DNA B, 4: 583- 588.

Kundu, S., Kumar, V., Tyagi, K. and Chandra, K. 2018. Environmental DNA (eDNA) testing for detection of freshwater turtles in a temple pond. Herpetol. Notes, 11: 369-371.

Kundu, S., Rath, S., Tyagi, K., Chakraborty, R., Pakrashi, A., Kumar, V. and Chandra, K. 2018. DNA barcoding of Cloridopsis immaculata: Genetic distance and phylogeny of stomatopods. Mitochondrial DNA B, 3: 955-958. 1507632. PMid:33474378 PMCid:PMC7800632.

Medellin, R.A., Wiederholt, R. and LoÂpez-Hoffman, L. 2017. Conservation relevance of bat caves for biodiversity and ecosystem services. Biol. Cons., 211: 45-50.

Messouli, M., Holsinger, J.R. and Reddy, Y.R. 2007. Kotumsaridae, a new family of subterranean amphipod crustaceans from India, with description of Kotumsaria bastarensis, new genus, new species. Zootaxa, 1589: 33-46.

Padhye, A.D., Jadhav, A., Modak, N., Nameer, P.O. and Dahanukar N. 2015. Hydrophylax bahuvistara, a new species of fungoid frog (Amphibia: Ranidae) from peninsular India. J. Threat. Taxa., 7: 7744-7760.

Prasad, K.N. 1996. Pleistocene Cave Fauna from Peninsular India. J. Caves. Karst. Stud., 58: 30-34.

Pricop, E. and Negrea, B.M. 2009. On the adaptations to cave life of some different animal groups (first note). ELBA Bioflux, 1.

Reddy, Y.R. 2006. First Asian report of the genus Chilibathynella Noodt, 1963 (Bathynellacea, Syncarida), with the description and biogeographic significance of a new species from Kotumsar Cave, India. Zootaxa, 1370: 23-37.

Reddy, Y.R. and Defaye, D. 2009. Two new Parastenocarididae (Copepoda, Harpacticoida) from India: Parastenocaris muvattupuzha n. sp. from a river and P. kotumsarensis n. sp. from a cave. Zootaxa, 2077: 31-55.

Sato, H., Sogo, Y., Doi, H. and Yamanaka, H. 2017. Usefulness and limitations of sample pooling for environmental DNA metabarcoding of freshwater fish communities. Sci. Rep., 7: 14860. PMid:29093520 PMCid: PMC5665893.

Sinha, K.M. and Agarwal, S.M. 1977. A new cavernicolous Orthoptera, Kempiola shankari n. sp. (Orthoptera Phalangopsidae) from Madhya Pradesh. Indian For., 103: 150-152.

Skalski, W. 1990. Some observations on the fauna of the Kotomsar Cave in India (Bastar District, Madhya Pradesh State). Mem. Biospeol., 17: 175-180.

Skalski, W. 1992. A new cave-dwelling moth, Kangerosithyris kotomsarensis Gen. Et Sp. Nov. From India (Lepidoptera, Tineidae). Mem. Biospeol., 19: 205-208.

Sket, B. 2008. Can we agree on an ecological classification of subterranean animals? J. Nat. Hist., 42: 1549-1563.

Sponsel, L. 2015. Sacred Caves of the World: Illuminating the Darkness. In: Brunn SD, editor. The Changing World Religion Map: Sacred Places, Identities, Practices and Politics. Netherlands: Springer; p. 503-522.

Sutherland, W.J., Bardsley, S., Clout, M., Depledge, M.H., Dicks, L.V., et al. 2013. A horizon scan of global conservation issues for 2013. Trends. Ecol. Evol., 28: 16-22. PMid:23219597.

Suwannapoom, C., Sumontha, M., Tunprasert, J., Ruangsuwan, T., Pawangkhanant, P., Korost, D.V. and Poyarkov, N.A. 2018. A striking new genus and species of cave-dwelling frog (Amphibia: Anura: Microhylidae: Asterophryinae) from Thailand. Peer J., 6: e4422. PMid:29497587 PMCid:PMC5828679.

Tamura, K., Stecher, G., Peterson, D., Filipski, A. and Kumar, S. 2013. MEGA6: Molecular evolutionary genetics analysis version 6.0. Mol. Biol. Evol., 30: 2725-2729. PMid:24132122 PMCid:PMC3840312.

Thompson, J.D., Gibson, T.J., Plewniak, F., Jeanmougin, F. and Higgins, D.G. 1997. The CLUSTAL_X windows interface: Flexible strategies for multiple sequence alignment aided by quality analysis tools. Nucleic Acids Res., 25: 4876-4882. PMid:9396791 PMCid:PMC147148.

Valentini, A., Taberlet, P., Miaud, C., Civade, R. and Herder, J., et al. 2016. Next-generation monitoring of aquatic biodiversity using environmental DNA metabarcoding. Mol. Ecol., 25: 929-942. PMid:26479867.

Verma, S.K. and Singh, L. 2003. Novel universal primers establish identity of an enormous number of animal species for forensic application. Mol. Ecol. Notes., 3: 28-31.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 > >>