Discovery of New Vine Snake Species

In News

Researchers discovered a new vine snake species in peninsular India.

In-Detail

  • Research from the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES) and the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISC) discovered new vine snake species in peninsular India.
  • Researchers collected extensive samples across peninsular India and even in peri-urban areas.
  • Researches carried field visits across India to collect morphological data, specimens, and tissue samples.
  • This made them understand the patterns of distribution and diversification of vine snakes.
  • Researchers from the Chennai Snake Park and the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) also collaborated on the study.
  • Researchers founded that the common green vine snake (Ahaetulla nasuta) in India has a complex of species.
  • Researchers found four different small-bodied and short-nosed species.
  • The vine snake species that were found in the Northern Western Ghats are Ahaetulla nasuta, Fransworth’s vine snake – Ahaetulla farnsworthi, Malabar vine snake – Ahaetulla malabarica. Wall’s vine snake – Ahaetulla isabellina was found in the Western Ghats rainforests.
  • These were similar in their morphology but separated by geographic or ecological barriers.
  • Researchers also delineated the Travancore vine snake-Aharetulla travancorica.
  • The Gunther’s vine snake – Ahaetulla dispar is separated by morphology and a geographical barrier.
  • They recognized the morphological distinctions between the brown vine snake in the Western Ghats and one that is found in Sri Lanka.
  • Scientists named the new snake species as Ahaetulla sahyadrensis.
  • Now there are six species of vine snakes in the Western Ghats.

Vine Snakes

  • Vine snakes are commonly found in peninsular India, peri-urban areas, and in the Western Ghats.
  • The Asian Vine Snakes are distributed throughout the continent.
  • They belong to the genus Ahaetulla and recently described as Proahaetulla.
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