New Viper species Discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

A new species of snake has been found in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district on 10 May 2019. The new species of reddish-brown pit viper – a venomous snake with a unique heat sensing system was found in a forest in West Kameng district by a team of herpetologists led by Ashok Captain.

The discovery was published in the March-April volume of Russian Journal of Herpetology. India had four brown pit vipers – Malabar, Horseshoe, Hump-nosed and Himalayan – before the Arunachal Pradesh discovery.

A research team from Pune-based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research found the snake while conducting biodiversity surveys in Eaglenest region of Arunachal Pradesh. A resident of the area had first shown the snake to the team in a forest patch near Ramada village.

Comparative analyses of DNA sequences and examination of morphological features suggested that the snake belonged to a species not described before. The specimen was donated to the museum of the State Forest Research Institute in Itanagar

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