Opisthobranchs are fascinating molluscs with species diversifying not only in colours but also in their specificity of habitats and food. They are among the least studied molluscs in India and the work done on opisthobranch fauna is limited and patchy. Though India has over 8,000 km coastline, two oceanic archipelagos with diverse habitats such as coral reefs, sandy shores, rocky patches, mangroves and large mud flats, records of Indian opisthobranchs are very scarce.
BNHS has started a major initive to document these fascinating animals along Indian coastline. Five sites were selected for the preliminary rapid assessment which began in 2008 on the coast of India. Of the five sites, three were intensively studied, namely Lakshadweep, Ratnagiri and Gulf of Kutch. Two sites, namely Port Blair (Andaman Islands) and Mumbai, were the subject of two rapid assessments.
During the one-year survey, authors were able to record 200 species of opisthobranchs from various families. Of these, around 149 are newly recorded in India and many species still need identification and/or validation.
There are number of individuals now sharing information with us to build the database of this group along Indian coast