New Species of Venomous Snake has Been Discovered by A Team of Herpetologists in Meghalaya

DEFENCE, SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

A new species of venomous snake has been discovered by a team of herpetologists from Umroi Military station in the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. It was discovered based on specimens collected from Mizoram and Meghalaya. This discovery was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The snake is named ‘Trimeresurus mayaae’ or ‘Maya’s Pit viper’. The snake was named in honour of Colonel Yashpal Singh Rathee’s late mother – Maya. The new species occurs throughout the Shillong Plateau and the adjoining Jaintia hills, Barail and Mizo hills. 

The snake looked very similar to Pope’s pit viper but the colour of the eyes was different. Initially, this species was assumed to be common in Meghalaya, Mizoram, and even Guwahati. The new species have highly distinct hemepenis (the copulatory organ). It is a cryptic species of green pit viper. It was distinguished as a new species as a result of morphological and molecular data analysis supporting the distinctness of the species from the other species. To get a better picture, an in-depth genetic analysis was done at the National Centre of Biological Sciences.

Herpetology, a branch of zoology that deals with the study of amphibians and reptiles, provides significant insight into the terrestrial and aquatic ecosystem.

 

   Important points for the exam:

  • A new species of the venomous snake ‘Trimeresurus mayaae’ or ‘Maya’s Pit viper’ was discovered by a team of herpetologists in Meghalaya.
  • The new species occurs throughout the Shillong Plateau and the adjoining Jaintia hills, Barail and Mizo hills.
  • The new species have highly distinct hemipenis (the copulatory organ). It is a cryptic species of green pit viper.

   Facts to know:

  • Chief Minister of Meghalaya: Mr Conrad Sangma.
  • Governor of Meghalaya: Mr Satya Pal Malik.
  • Nokrek National Park is located in Meghalaya.
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