-Ezrela Daldia Fanai, Aizawl, Mizoram
Recently the herpetologists of Mizoram University came into focus when they discovered a new species of snake in the outskirts of Aizawl.
They named it Stoliczkia Vanhnualiana- in honour of an old Mizo warrior-chief.
A Research Associate of Mizoram University Samuel Lalronunga with his teammates K. Lalhmangaiha, Isaac Zosangliana, and Esther Lalhmingliani during their routine fieldwork stumbled upon the rare snake at Phulpui village not far from Aizawl.
The snake belongs to genus Stoliczkia. There are only two other snakes in the genus- Stoliczkia khasiensis (discovered in Meghalaya’s Khasi hills in 1870) and Stoliczkia borneensis (discovered in Borneo in 1904).
Samuel Lalronunga says, “The snake under this genus is a very rare species of snake, not only in Asia but the entire world. Only two individual snakes discovered in 1870 can be found in the museum. When we found the snake, we thought it is Stoliczkia khasiensis, but after careful study of the DNA at Systematics and Toxicology Laboratory, we discovered that we have stumbled upon an entirely new species.”
Samuel added that the discovery is greatly valued by the Scientific community as the snake is from a very rare group.
“Many scientists tell me that this is one of the top 10 discoveries in the snake world in the last 10 years,” Samuel said with great pride.