What is Potamophylax coronavirus?

21April 2021.

Introduction:

Kosovar Biologist Halil Ibrahimi has named a newly discovered insect after COVID-19 virus.

About the insect

  • Ibrahimi spent years working on a different type of Caddisfly species. The species was found in Accursed Mountains (Kosovo’s Western Bjeshket e Nemuna National Park). It has now been named as “Potamophylax coronavirus”.
  • The species is endemic to the National Park.
  • The newly found species of Caddisfly is different from those found in the Balkans. The new species is considerably smaller and lives in open and high-altitude zones, that is, 2,000 metres above the sea level.

Why is the species named after Coronavirus?

  • Since the study of this new insect was impacted by the Corona pandemic ,it has been named as such.With this unique name, the researchers hope to bring attention to another “silent pandemic” occurring on freshwater organisms in Kosovo’s rivers
  • .This is caused by the pollution and degradation of freshwater habitats, coupled with the activity increasing in recent years of mismanaged hydropower plants..
  • During his study about the species, the scientists have also found that the Decanit River is severely deteriorated due to the construction of a hydropower plant.

Decanit river

It is a tributary of White Drin. The Monastery of Visoki Decani is located on the bank of the River Decanit. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The river drains into the Adriatic Sea.

Adriatic Sea

The Adriatic Sea separates the Italian peninsula from the Balkans. It is the northernmost arm of Mediterranean Sea. The Adriatic Sea consists of more than 1,300 islands.

The salinity of Adriatic Sea is less than the Mediterranean Sea. This is because Adriatic Sea collects more than a third of the fresh water flowing in to the Mediterranean.

Kosovo

The scientist belongs to Kosovo. Kosovo (a country in the continent of Europe) lies at the centre of the Balkans. It has gained recognition as a sovereign state from 98 members of United Nations.

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