In fascinating wildlife discovery in Assam, a team of scientists from India, the USA and UKA came across a new snake species that sports a red Bindi like mark on its neck. This is the first such find from any of the northeastern Indian states in over 100 years. The news of this discovery was first published in the recent edition of Zootaxa - a journal for animal taxonomists published from New Zealand.
The team that discovered this new species featured scientists from Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, University of Texas, Austin, and Natural History of Museum, London. Speaking about the new discovery, India’s Abhijit Das who was also part of the group, said that the snake species has been named Rhabdophis Bindi due to the presence of a unique Bindi like mark on its neck.
The new snake belonged to the Rhabdophis genus, however, the presence of the red marks was unlike anything seen in the known 29 species of the genus. The Rhabdophis genus is usually found in the south, east and southeastern parts of Asia.
The first known specimen of this species was discovered by Day way back in 2007 during one of his surveys in and around the Barail Hill Range in Assam’s Cachar district. In subsequent years 10 different individuals of the species were discovered and collected from low elevation areas too. The collected specimens were studies for over 14 years before they were classified as a new species. It was compared to all other similar species of snake available across the world.
The new snake species is over 60 cm long and shares a close resemblance to the Himalayan Red-Necked Keelback that are found in the different parts of northeast India. However, unlike the Himalayan Red-Necked Keelback that’s only found at an elevation over 600m from the sea level, this new species is present at low lying areas too.