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New species ‘pit viper snake’ spotted in Arunachal

New species ‘pit viper snake’ spotted in Arunachal
GUWAHATI, MAY 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 5/11/2019 11:50:32 AM IST

A research team led by famous Indian herpetologist Ashok Captain discovered a new species of snake at Ramda village in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, a NE Now report stated.

According to reports, the new species of the snake known as pit viper is found to be venomous and has a reddish brown skin with a unique heat sensing system. The research team comprised of some expert herpetologists from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research of Pune.

They discovered the snake while conducting biodiversity surveys in the Eaglenest region of the state and a local resident had pointed out the snake to them in a forest patch in Ramda village.

The snake was found to be an unknown species of pit viper after comparative analysis of DNA sequences were done and morphological features were examined. India generally has four brown pit vipers—Malabar, Horse-shoe, Hump-nosed and Himalayan.

A male species of the new pit viper snake which had been discovered by the herpetologists has presently been donated to the museum of the State Forest Research Institute in Itanagar. The findings of the new discovery have been published in an international multi-disciplinary herpetology journal known as Russian Journal of Herpetology. The northeast is home to some 110 species, with Arunachal Pradesh accounting for 55.

“We don’t know anything of the Arunachal pit viper’s natural history as only one male has been found so far. More surveys and sightings of this species would gradually give us an idea of its habits..,” he said. The discovery was published in the March-April volume of Russian Journal of Herpetology.

A month after a Russian journal published the discovery of the reddish-brown pit viper in Arunachal Pradesh, a New Zealand-based journal Zootaxa had also come out with the discovery of a non-venomous snake in Mizoram-- Smithophis atemporalis, named after eminent British herpetologist Malcolm Arthur Smith for his immense contribution to Indian herpetology.

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