- 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’.
- 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.
- 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).