Arunachal Pit-viper (Trimeresurus arunachalensis), basing the zoological name on the geographical area, is the new name given to this newly discovered species after a team of experts came across a lone brown pitviper, visibly distinct from the other brown pitvipers of the region.
A chance encounter during a biodiversity survey in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh led to the discovery of Arunachal Pit-viper.
“The snake was well camouflaged in the leaf litter on a very steep slope and was detected only because it moved. Once alarmed, it formed a flat coil with its head angled upwards”
Holotype as it is referred to, technically is a term to describe instances where a new species has been named based on discovery of a single specimen unlike the preferred method of naming new species based on a series of individuals.
“As of now, known from a single locality – near settlement Ramda in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, a holotype of Trimeresurus arunachalensis was found on the forest floor during the day” – Russian Journal of Herepetology, Vol 26, 2019 Arunachal Pit-viper differs from other snakes in the same category on more than 10 counts /combination of characters. Read the report to get the details.
Arunachal Pradesh is extremely rich in biodiversity and has yielded many notable reptilian and amphibian (herpetological) discoveries. However this is the first snake to be named after the state and therefore holds a special place.
In a world where nature and biodiversity loss is occuring at an alarming state, discovery of a new species brings hope and cheer. It is the biodiversity - myriad species of plants and animals that keeps this planet, we call home, alive.
"The discovery of the Arunachal Pit-viper is a small addition to the immense biodiversity we, in India, are blessed with. It also adds to our responsibility to safeguard the habitats of the species we know and the ones that are yet to be discovered! "
Today man has become the biggest threat to the health of the planet. 60% wildlife populations have been lost in less than 50 years (Living Planet Report 2018). We are the first generation to know what we’re doing, and the last who have a chance to put things right.
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Picture credit: Rohan Pandit/ Eaglenest Biodiversity Project
Based on a research paper co-authored by Rohan Pandit who is currently with WWF-India as a Project Officer in Khangchendzonga Landscape