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March 20, 2015

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Five new species of grasshopper unearthed

HYDERABAD: A Sindh University zoology scholar Waheed Ali Panhwar has unearthed five new species of tettigonioidea (Ensifera), commonly known as grasshopper, existing in Pakistan.
Apart from the discovery, the researcher also re-described 13 species and 29 regional records of ensifera under the supervision of Dr Riffat Sultana and co-supervision of Dr Muhammad Saeed Wagan. The scholar revealed the discoveries in his final PhD seminar, organised at Sindh University on Thursday.
Panhwar, successfully defended his final PhD thesis titled “Studies on the systematic and ecological status of tettigonioidea (Ensifera) of Pakistan”, which was sent to Board of advanced studies and research (BASR) for further approval.
Renowned zoologist and scientist of Punjab University Prof Dr Naeem Khan especially participated in the seminar and evaluated the thesis of the scholar.
Pakistan Science Foundation Islamabad (PSF) and Higher Education Commission (HEC) provided grant for the study.
In his presentation, the scholar said Pakistan was a bio-geographically diverse region mostly due to its rich vegetation and favorable climatic condition which makes it trouble-free region for breeding of different insect groups including grasshoppers.
“Tettigonioidea are phytophagous insects whereas some of the species are important pests of agricultural crops while many species are ecologically associated with forest biocenosis, damaging trees and shrubs,” he said and added that in addition to herbaceous plants, these facts extend the range of injurious plants in the forests, fruit orchards, berry shrubs and grasses.
The scholar collected a total of 4379 adults from different climatic zones and field sites including that of agriculture lands, forests, fruit orchards, grapevines, berry shrubs, hills, semi deserts, desert areas, trees, shrubs, herbs and grasses in the country during the year 2011-2014
He said the collected material was sorted out into 47 species of

tettigonioidea pertaining to seven sub-families including pseudophyllinae, phaneropterinae, conocephalinae, tettigoniinae, hexacentrinae, mecopodinae and decticinae belonging to 20 tribes and 22 genera. As a result of the work, the scholar registered 29 new records to Pakistan and five new species to science.
The scholar said phaneropterinae and conocephalinae exhibited wide diversity in Pakistan and percentage of existence of conocephalinae was the highest at 55.7 percent followed by phaneropterinae at 43.6 percent, tettigoniinae at 0.36 percent, pseudophyllinae at 0.11 percent, mecopodinae at 0.06 percent and hexacentrinae and decticinae at 0.04 percent.
“These finding suggests that phaneropterinae and conocephalinae were collected in large numbers and having prevailing status throughout the country on contrary to this, other studied subfamilies, including hexacentrinae, mecopodinae and decticinae were considered rare due to less numbers and species. Beside this, pseudophyllinae with single genus sathrophyllia that includes four species was studied for the first time in Pakistan,” he said. The author has published 14 research articles in national and international journals about his work.

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