29th Apr, 2020
Recently, a team of researchers has discovered a new species of venomous snake in Arunachal Pradesh and named it Trimeresurus Salazar.
- The venomous snake was discovered in the thick evergreen forests of the Pakke Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh during a field expedition by researchers in July 2019.
- The new species is named after J.K. Rowling’s fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s co-founder, Salazar Slytherin.
- The new species belongs to the group of green pit vipers from which it differs from its closely related species in bearing a rusty red or orange lateral stripe along the head and the entire body.
- The Salazar pit viper belongs to a genus of "charismatic venomous serpents with morphologically as well as ecologically diverse species."
- The comparison of DNA sequences and skull morphology of closely related species highlights the distinctness of the new species.
- This pit viper has orange to reddish stripe near its lips. It has more teeth compared to the other venomous snakes.
- This new pit viper happens to be the fifth variety of reptile to have been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh in a little more than a year.
What are Pit Vipers?
- Pit vipers are some of the most beautiful, and most dangerous, snakes in the world. They exist on several different continents, and within a wide variety of habitats.
- All of the snakes in this group are members of the Viperidaefamily of snakes -- vipers for short. But not all of the Viperidae are pit vipers.
- They are masters of the hunt, armed with some amazing "tools" for finding and killing their prey.
- Pit vipers are widespread throughout the world. These venomous snakes can be found across parts of Europe, Asia, and both North and South America.
- They have adapted to survive in a wide variety of habitats, ranging from deserts to jungle.
- About 15 pit viper snakes are found in India, seven of which have been found in northeast before.
Pakke Tiger Reserve:
- Pakke Tiger Reserve lies in the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh.
- It is considered one of the best protected national parks in the country. Pakke is also known for its amazing sightings of four resident hornbill species.
- While the new discovery is indeed exciting for herpetology experts, it also raises concern on the loss of habitat in the region.
- It is where a highway between Sejosa and Bhalokpong is threatened to cut through Pakke Tiger Reserve, where a lot of reptiles thrive.