New Snake Species Discovered In Mizoram, Named After Native Warrior Vanhnuailiana

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Posted in Featured, Mizoram, Northeast


  • NET Web Desk

A new snake species was discovered by a team of Mizoram University researchers in a dried-up area of Tuinghaleng river bed.

However, further detailed studies revealed the snake, a new species of the Stoliczkia genus.

The research team consisted of Samuel Lalronunga, K Lalhmangaiha, Isaac Zosangliana, Esther Lalhmingliani, David J Gower, Abhijit Das and V Deepak.

This snake was named Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai, in honour of Vanhnuailiana, a famous Mizo warrior.

According to Indian Express report, Vanhnuailiana was a powerful chief of the Lushai Hills (now Mizoram) during the mid-1800s. He led several successful campaigns against the rival chiefs of the region.

This new species is termed the only third species of Stoliczkia belonging from India.

About 50 cm in length, non-venomous, with a dark brown shade above, and a few dorsal scale rows bright yellow in colour.

Its head scales are uniformly dark brown, but has a bright pinkish sutures.

“Since some members of the family Xenodermidae exhibit fluorescence under ultraviolet light, we tested this species under a UV light, but it did not exhibit any significant sign of fluorescence. We do not know if the pink colour played an important role as of now,” – asserted by the lead author Samuel Lalronunga, Systematics and Toxicology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Mizoram University.

The findings were published on Wednesday July 6 in Zootaxa – a peer reviewed scientific mega journal for animal taxonomists.

It attained a common name, ‘Lushai hills dragon snake’, in local Mizo language, it can be termed rulphusin, defining – ‘snake with small scales’.

This is believed to be one of the most important discoveries of this century.

Its sister species Stoliczkia khasiensis was last found in 1904.

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