animal taxa commonly seen in this subcontinent. As said, this book is all about animals; its incredible
diversity presented in a systematic, legible and straight forward manner. A number of activities for the
readers to complete makes this book more like an activity log-book or a puzzle rather than a
comprehensive reference work. You will find herein almost every animal commonly seen in India,
presented in an Indian (and absolutely scientific) context as in the incarnations of Lord Vishnu… from
staggering diversity of aquatic animals (matsya) to spineless and spined terrestrial creatures that rule this
subcontinent (koorma, varaaha, vaamana and parasuraama). Each chapter introduces the readers to the
up-to-date systematics of respective animal groups through clearly illustrated phylograms. An organism
index provided at the end facilitates reverse look-up of binomial names based on common names, and
therefore doubles use of this work as the first binomen encyclopedia of Indian Animals. Bioprospects and
IUCN conservation status of taxa highlighted throughout the text and a comprehensive glossary provided
at the end makes this a first book of its kind- a must reference for all who cares about animal biodiversity.
Indian Biodiversity, albeit being one of the richest in the world with three of the 32 “Biodiversity Hotspots”, is unfortunately in a serious sate of neglect from the administration and the general public alike. Four big-sized animals, Pink-headed Duck, Himalayan Mountain Quail, Lesser Indian Rhinoceros and Indian Cheetah, have gone extinct in the last century alone. IUCN enlist India at 7th rank of shame-list, countries struggling to protect its biodiversity. With almost 18% of world population cramming into less than 2% of area, sub-continental forest cover has been steadily shrinking, so as its biodiversity. This report is first of its kind in India, a comprehensive assessment of status and trends of commonly found animals in the subcontinent with its up-to-date taxonomic positions, overview on the systematics, bio-prospecting and conservation. This work also serves as a “binomen dictionary”-for looking up binomial names of virtually every animal species that you might encounter in daily life in India.
Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has published few checklists of animal taxa in India but those did not include several of the important animal phyla. Checklists merely enlist scientific names without common name or any other information and therefore their utility in practical identification is extremely limited. This inspired me to write a book with following focuses:
1.Limit to the macroscopic extant species that are commonly found in nature throughout the subcontinent.
2.Species of human importance; a note on bio-prospecting that highlights commercially cultivated/medicinally important/culturally significant taxa discussed in each chapter introduction.
3.Species of conservation importance; a note on conservation discussed in each chapter introduction and common names are appropriately superscribed throughout (CR: Critically Endangered, EN: Endangered, VU: Vulnerable and NT: Near Threatened.)
4.Example families and genera covering all iconic metazoan phyla and phylogenetic trees to illustrate evolutionary relationships between them; to aid in understanding and appreciation of animal systematics.
5.Designated animals representing national and state level administration.
"This Book is the need of the hour" -K Venktaraman, Director, Zoological Survey of India