New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Species in news: Assam keelback snake

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Assam Keelback Snake

Mains level : NA

More than a century after it was first seen, the Assam keelback — a snake species endemic to the region — was rediscovered in 2018 at the Poba Reserve Forest (RF) by a team from Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

Try this question from CSP 2018:

Q.In which one of the following State Pakhui Wildlife Sanctuary is located?

(a) Arunachal Pradesh (b) Manipur (c) Meghalaya (d) Nagaland

Assam Keelback Snake

  • The species is small — about 60 cm long, brownish, with a patterned belly.
  • This particular keelback does not belong to the generalized keelback snake of India but is rather a unique genus (Herpetoreas).
  • It was discovered 129 years ago by Samuel Edward Peel, a British tea planter based in Upper Assam.
  • The snake’s ‘lost’ status has a lot to do with the habitat it occupies — in this case, a lowland evergreen forest.
  • These forests have been selectively degraded during the last 100 years: tea plantations have been made, selective logging has taken place, and many other activities such as oil exploration and coal mining.

Is the snake under threat?

  • Most snakes and other reptiles are categorised as ‘data deficient’ in the IUCN list.
  • There is practically no information available about it and it is difficult to determine its status.
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