• A tiny snake “Xylophis deepaki” has been named in honour of Indian herpetologist Deepak Veerappan for his contribution in erecting a new subfamily Xylophiinae to accommodate wood snakes.
  • The common name suggested for the species is ‘Deepak’s wood snake’.

Important point:

  • It is a tiny snake of just 20 cm length with iridescent scales.
  • It was first found on a coconut plantation in Kanyakumari.
  • It is now reported to be an endemic species of Tamil Nadu and also been sighted in some parts of the southern Western Ghats.
  • It is found in the drier regions and in lower altitudes around Agasthyamalai hills.
  • It is a small genus of snakes in the family Pareidae.
  • It has five species, all of which are endemic to the Western Ghats in southern India.
  • Five Species: Xylophis Captaini, Xylophis deepaki, Xylophis Mosaicus, Xylophis Perroteri and Xylophis Stenorhynchus.
  • These five species constitute the monotypic subfamily Xylophiinae.
  • They are the only pareidae snakes found in India and the only snakes in the family found outside Southeast Asia.

Wood Snakes:

  • These are harmless (non-venomous), sub-fossorial and often found while digging soil in farms and under the logs in the Western Ghat forests.
  • They feed on earthworms and possibly other invertebrates.
  • Their close relatives are found in Northeast India and Southeast Asia and are known to be arboreal (living in trees).



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