New Green Pit Viper Species Discovered In India’s Western Arunachal Pradesh

April 17, 2020

Researchers in India have discovered and described a new green pit viper species that is found in the lowlands of western Arunachal Pradesh in India.

The snake, named Trimeresurus salazar is of the subgenus Trimeresurus. It is named after Salazar Slytherin, the fictional character in the Harry Potter series of books written by J.K. Rowling. 

Trimeresurus salazar

Zeeshan A. Mirza, Bhosale, Pushkar Phansalkar, Mandar Sawant, Gaurang Gowande, Harshil Patel

Trimeresurus salazar was discovered in July 2019 in an evergreen forest environment in the Pakke tiger reserve.
 

“The specific epithet is a noun in apposition for J.K. Rowling’s fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry’s co-founder Salazar Slytherin. He was a Parselmouth that links him to serpents. The suggested common name is Salazar’s pit viper,” Harshal Bhosale, conservation officer at Bombay Natural History Society, said in a media statement.


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Trimeresurus salazar is green in coloration like that of Trimeresurus septentrionalis, bout is distinct in that it sports an orange/reddish stripe that runs from its eye to nearly the end of its tail.

The venomous snake was discovered in July 2019 in an evergreen forest environment in the Pakke tiger reserve. The holotype has a snout to vent length of 415mm, and a head length of 16.2mm. Its head is triangular in shape. 

“Two specimens were found in field that helped diagnose the new species,” researchers Zeeshan A. Mirza, Bhosale, Pushkar Phansalkar, Mandar Sawant, Gaurang Gowande and Harshil Patel said in their research paper describing the new species. “Molecular data for the specimens corroborate our morphological findings and allow us to describe a new species of green pit vipers from northeastern India.”

The complete paper, A new species of green pit vipers of the genus Trimeresurus Lacépède, 1804 (Reptilia, Serpentes, Viperidae) from western Arunachal Pradesh, India, can be read on the Zoosystematics and Evolution website

 

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