NAGOYA – A carnivorous plant found only in Aichi Prefecture has been confirmed as a new species, a researcher at Aichi University of Education announced Saturday.
The pitcher plant with purple-red flowers was initially believed to be a variant of the white-flowered Drosera indica, designated as an endangered species by the Environment Ministry.
However, Mikio Watanabe, professor of plant classification at Aichi University of Education, conducted a genetic analysis and determined that the plant is in fact a different species.
Drosera indica grows naturally from India to Japan, where it can be found in regions ranging from Kanto to Kyushu.
“I’m planning to study how the plant came (to Japan) and how it has diversified into several different species,” Watanabe said.
The Environment Ministry plans to add 600 rare plant and animal species subject to conservation to the current list of 90 by 2030, its officials said Friday.
Amid criticism from environmental groups that conservation efforts are lagging, 300 plants and creatures will be listed by 2020 and another 300 over the following 10 years via the law for conservation of endangered species of wild fauna and flora, they said.
At present, 3,597 species are listed as “endangered” on the ministry’s Red List of critically threatened Japanese wildlife, but there are no legal restrictions on catching or trading them.
The ministry plans to compile a conservation strategy by the end of fiscal 2013 that will define ways to protect endangered creatures and list its priorities. It is also set to submit to the Diet a bill to revise the conservation law, which would raise the maximum fine for companies that illegally capture or sell endangered species to ¥100 million, from the current ¥1 million.