- NET Web Desk
A team of Herpetologists from Mizoram have discovered a new species of non-venomous snake that lives distant from water sources unlike its six recognized sister-species.
The snake known as “lenrul” which means “high-elevation snake” in Mizo, is the only one of its species found exceeding 1,700 metres above mean sea level in India.
The snake’s scientific name – Herpetoreas murlen, has been derived from the place it was found – the 200 sq. kms Murlen National Park in Mizoram’s Champhai district.
The seventh nominal species in the genus Herpetoreas – the colubrid (Colubridae family) snake, has been reported in the newest edition of Salamandra, a German magazine of herpetology (the study of reptiles and amphibians).
The study was authored by Hmar Tlawmte Lalremsanga and Lal Biakzuala of Mizoram University’s Department of Zoology, Amit Kumar Bal of Amity Institute of Forestry and Wildlife, and Gernot Vogel of the Society for South East Asian Herpetology based in Germany’s Heidelberg.
Besides, the specimens examined in this study were collected from Mizoram during fieldwork initiated between 2018-2021.
“Before lenrul, six species of Herpetoreas had been recognized – four of them in India and two in China. Three of the four in India were recorded from the Northeast and one from northern India,” Mr. Lalremsanga told The Hindu on Tuesday.
The new species features a dark olive-grey body, randomly-speckled scales with black on the borders, inter-scales speckled sparsely with white, and a dorsolateral stripe reaching from the neck to the tail, and is genetically closest to Herpetoreas burbrinki, its Chinese cousin.
The snout of the 461-mm snake was determined to be “modestly long,” with small nostrils, and “quite large” eyes.