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New snake species discovered in Arunachal

By SIVASISH THAKUR
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GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - In an addition to the remarkable reptilian diversity of the North East, a new species of snake in the genus, Hebius, was recently discovered at Basar town in Arunachal Pradesh.

The new species is named Hebius lacrima and the common name given is �Crying Keelback� (lacrima means crying because of black spot below its eye making an allusion to crying).

The finding has been published in Zootaxa, the peer-reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomy published from New Zealand. The species, Hebius lacrima, can be differentiated from all other species of the genus Hebius by the combination of a distinctive broad, white, interrupted stripe on the supralabials; three rows of irregular dark blotches, not vertically aligned, on each side; a short dorsolateral row made of a total of six cream; elongate spots on its anterior part, and entirely smooth first dorsal scale row.

�We are working on many new species of amphibians and reptiles right now and look forward to getting the works published by the middle of this year. Basically, there is a lot of scope in research pertaining to herpetofauna in North East India, but we need support from government bodies,� Jayaditya Purkayastha of Help Earth, who co-authored the article with Partick David, Mus�um National d�Histoire Naturelle, Paris, told The Assam Tribune.

The interrupted pale head stripe differentiates the Hebius lacrima species from all other natricid species of the Indo-Himalayan and Indo-Chinese region, he added.

The snake is seen to inhabit areas used for jhum cultivation and is currently known only from Basar.

Globally, snakes are represented by 3,709 species and the North East India is home to around 110 species of snakes with Arunachal Pradesh accounting for half of those. The genus Hebius is a part of the Amphiesma complex and is represented by 44 species worldwide, out of which six species are from the North East.

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New snake species discovered in Arunachal

GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - In an addition to the remarkable reptilian diversity of the North East, a new species of snake in the genus, Hebius, was recently discovered at Basar town in Arunachal Pradesh.

The new species is named Hebius lacrima and the common name given is �Crying Keelback� (lacrima means crying because of black spot below its eye making an allusion to crying).

The finding has been published in Zootaxa, the peer-reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomy published from New Zealand. The species, Hebius lacrima, can be differentiated from all other species of the genus Hebius by the combination of a distinctive broad, white, interrupted stripe on the supralabials; three rows of irregular dark blotches, not vertically aligned, on each side; a short dorsolateral row made of a total of six cream; elongate spots on its anterior part, and entirely smooth first dorsal scale row.

�We are working on many new species of amphibians and reptiles right now and look forward to getting the works published by the middle of this year. Basically, there is a lot of scope in research pertaining to herpetofauna in North East India, but we need support from government bodies,� Jayaditya Purkayastha of Help Earth, who co-authored the article with Partick David, Mus�um National d�Histoire Naturelle, Paris, told The Assam Tribune.

The interrupted pale head stripe differentiates the Hebius lacrima species from all other natricid species of the Indo-Himalayan and Indo-Chinese region, he added.

The snake is seen to inhabit areas used for jhum cultivation and is currently known only from Basar.

Globally, snakes are represented by 3,709 species and the North East India is home to around 110 species of snakes with Arunachal Pradesh accounting for half of those. The genus Hebius is a part of the Amphiesma complex and is represented by 44 species worldwide, out of which six species are from the North East.

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