New species of green pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh, named after fictional character of Harry Potter

16 April 2020

New species of green pit viper discovered in Pakke Tiger Reserve!


  • A team of researchers has discovered a new species of the venomous green pit viper in Arunachal Pradesh. Two specimens of these spp have been found. The new species has been discovered in the thick ,evergreen forests of Pakke Tiger Reserve  in Pakke –Kessang district in Arunachal Pradesh during a field expedition in held in July 2019.
  • It has been named Trimeresurus salazar after Salazar Slytherin-a fictional character from Harry Potter series of J.K Rowling.
  • Pit vipers are venomous snakes with heat-sensing pit organs between the eye and the nostril.
  • Arunachal Pradesh belongs to Himalayan Biodiversity Hotspot and shows high degree of heterogeneity in its landscape with elevation ranging from 100m -700m and distinct climate regimes that harbour flora and fauna.

Highlights of the discovery:

  • The new spp T.salazar is the fifth variety of reptile to have been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It  belongs to the genus-Trimeresurus lacepede comprising-‘’chareacterstic venomous serpents with morphologically as well as ecologically diverse spp.’’
  • Atleast 48 spp are distributed across East and South -East Asia and of these15 are found in India.
  • Before T.salazar, 7 of the fifteen spp. have been already found in  North –East.
  • Findings of the discovery have been reported in the paper published by a team of researchers-Zeeshan A Mirza,Harshal Bhonsle, Pushkar Phansalkar,Mandar Sanwant,Gaurang Gowande and Harshil Patel.
  • Paper is published in the International Science Journal-“Zoosystematics and Evolution”.
  • Researchers come from different organisations- Zeeshan- National Centre for Biological Sciences Bengaluru, Harshal and Mandar from  Bombay Natural History Society Mumbai,Gowande – Pune Fergusson College,Pushkar- Wildlife Institute Of India,Dehradun.
  • Discovery funded by -Shripad Halbe of Brihad Bhartiya Samaj and Singinawa Conservation Foundation .
  • The new spp belongs to the family of green pit vipers. There are 22 types of green pit vipers found in India.

How is this spp different?

  •  The difference is a rusty red or orange lateral stripe over the head and body.
  • Comparison of the DNA sequences and morphology of the head confirms the distinctness of these new spp.

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