New Genus of Snakes Discovered in Western Ghats

  • 28 Aug 2023

On 21st August, 2023, a research was published on collaborative effort among researchers from Gujarat, Maharashtra, the United Kingdom, and Germany that has led to the identification of a novel genus and species of colubrid snakes thriving within the ecologically diverse Western Ghats.

Key Points

  • Unveiling a New Snake Genus: The research culminated in the revelation of a hitherto unknown genus of snakes, which has been designated as Sahyadriophis.
  • The name is a fusion of 'Sahyadri,' the Sanskrit term for the Western Ghats, and 'Ophis,' the Greek word for snakes.
  • Species Discovery: The newfound species, christened Sahyadriophis Uttaraghati or the Northern Sahyadri keelback, was found in the northern realms of the Western Ghats.
  • Behavior and Attributes: Snakes belonging to this newly identified genus predominantly exhibit activity during monsoons.
  • Their primary dietary preference encompasses frogs and their eggs.
  • These snakes exhibit remarkable docility, seldom resorting to biting when handled.
  • Notably, juvenile specimens bear a conspicuous blotch or collar mark on the nape, a feature that fades as the snake matures.
  • Distinguishing itself from its Southern counterpart, Sahyadriophis beddomei, the new species showcases a higher count of subcaudal scales on the tail's underside and a substantially elongated tail.