Lost and found: Snake species endemic to Assam rediscovered after 129 years

Lost and found: Snake species endemic to Assam rediscovered after 129 years

A crew from Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has rediscovered a species of a snake in Assam thought-about extinct after a niche of 129 years because it was first seen.

The species ‘Hebius pealii’, referred to as Assam Keelback, was first seen in 1891 when a British tea-planter Samuel Edward Peal collected two male specimens from Sibsagar district in Assam.

One in all them was saved on the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) in Kolkata and the opposite in London’s Pure History Museum (NHM). The snake was by no means seen after that and was believed by some to be extinct.

It was unintentionally present in a reserve forest, 118km from the place the place it was first collected, on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in September 2018 when a crew from WII was retracing steps of the Abor Expedition, a army expedition by the British in opposition to Abors in 1911.

The discover was printed on June 26 in Vertebrate Zoology, a world journal printed from Germany.

“To commemorate the Abor Expedition, which in addition to being a army marketing campaign had resulted within the assortment of numerous animals and vegetation, we revisited the world to search out out the modifications that had occurred in a century,” Abhijit Das, a scientist in endangered species administration division of WII, mentioned.

“Because the British began their expedition from Dibrugarh in Assam from a spot close to Poba reserve forest on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, we additionally started there. It was in a marshy wetland contained in the forest, the place I encountered this snake endemic to Assam and never seen for the final 129 years. It was completely sudden as individuals had thought it to be extinct,” he added.

Das, an skilled on snakes of Assam and northeast India, caught the snake, an grownup feminine which is bi-coloured—darkish brown above and pale mid-ventrally. To substantiate the species, the WII crew needed to get particulars from NHM, London because the specimen at ZSI had bought broken.

“We bought knowledge from London and in addition did DNA profiling to determine that the specimen present in Poba reserve forest is Assam Keelback. We have been fortunate that the specimen in London was intact or else it could have been troublesome to establish the snake,” mentioned Das.

“Now we all know what sort of habitat this snake, which measures round 50-60cm and is non-venomous, resides in. We have to search for more members of this species in these areas and in addition undertake particular efforts to guard these micro-habitats, marshy wetland inside evergreen forests” he added.


- Advertisement -