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Zoologist discovers ‘crying’ snake in Arunachal Pradesh

A new species of ‘crying’ snake has been discovered in Lepa-Rada district of Arunachal Pradesh. The discovery of the non-venomous crying keelback, whose zoological name is Hebius lacrima , has been published in Zootaxa , the New Zealand-based scientific mega-journal for animal taxonomy. “The name for this keelback was suggested because of a dark spot under its eyes looking like black tear that interrupts a white stripe running along the upper jaw to the back of its head and beyond,” Jayaditya Purkayastha, a Guwahati-based zoologist who located the new keelback in the Basar area of Arunachal Pradesh, told The Hindu . ‘Lacrima’ means tear in Latin. The specimen that Mr. Purkayastha obtained from a paddy field on a hill slope on the outskirts of Basar town was an adult male 48.7 cm long. Photographs of a few other such snakes revealed that was the average length of an adult. The crying keelback had to be compared with 44 species of snakes worldwide under the genus Hebius . “I had data on 20 species of this genus. So I collaborated with Patrick David of the Paris-based National Museum of Natural History who had data on another 22,” Mr. Purkayastha said. According to the paper by Mr. Purkayastha and Mr. David, the crying keelback can be differentiated from all other species of the genus Hebius by the combination of a distinctive broad, white, interrupted stripe along its body; three rows of irregular dark blotches (not vertically aligned) on each side; six cream, elongated spots on its anterior part and a smooth dorsal scale row. The snake, preferring to live near streams along paddy fields, was found to feed on small fish, tadpole, frogs and geckos. Globally snakes are represented by 3,709 species. The northeast is home to some 110 species.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-life/zoologist-discovers-crying-snake-in-arunachal-pradesh/article26254178.ece

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