Dr Rachunliu Kamei
- Focus: Understanding the diversity and evolution of caecilians in the North Eastern Region of India
- Funding: European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship
This project aims to better understand the natural history and evolution of chikilid and ichthyophiid caecilians of the North Eastern Region of India.
The region, which is known to be biologically rich, remained largely unexplored for caecilians until 2009.
However, our work shows that caecilians of northeast India are more special than anticipated. We recently described a new family of caecilians from the North Eastern Region of India, demonstrating that it is an ancient lineage with closest extant relatives in Africa.
This project is using a combination of genetic, morphological, anatomical, life history, and distribution data to study these caecilians in greater depth.
We also aim to assess the extent to which the North Eastern Region of India is a discrete biodiversity and conservation hotspot and biogeographical unit (rather than simply a gateway between the Himalaya and Indo-Burma hotspots).
Kamei R, Gower D, Wilkinson M, Biju, SD (2013) Systematics of the caecilian family Chikilidae (Amphibia: Gymnophiona), with description of three new species of Chikila from northeast India. Zootaxa, 3666(4): 401–435.
Kamei R, San Mauro D, Gower D, Van Bocxlaer I, Sherratt E, Thomas A, Babu S, Bossuyt F, Wilkinson M, Biju S (2012) Discovery of a new family of amphibians from northeast India with ancient links to Africa. Proceedings of the Royal Society B., 279: 2396–2401.
Kamei R, Wilkinson M, Gower D, Biju S (2009) Three new species of striped Ichthyophis (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Ichthyophiidae) from the northeast Indian states of Manipur and Nagaland. Zootaxa, 2267: 26–42.