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Xylophis deepaki

Xylophis deepaki

CONTEXT:

  • A snake species is named in honour of Indian herpetologist Deepak Veerappan for his contribution in erecting a new subfamily Xylophiinae to accommodate wood snakes.

Herpetologist Deepak Veerappan has a snake named after him - The Hindu

Xylophis deepaki:

  • It is a tiny snake of just 20 cm length with iridescent scales.

  • It, first stumbled upon in a coconut plantation in Kanyakumari.

  • It is now reported to be an endemic species of Tamil Nadu and has been sighted in a few locations in the southern part of the Western Ghats.

  • Common name: Deepak’s wood snake.

  • Habitat: This new species is found in the drier regions and in lower altitudes around Agasthyamalai hills.

  • The other Xylophis were reported from cold higher altitudes, of 1,700 m and above, in the Nilgiris and the Anaimalai.

  • Its close relative, Captain’s wood snake, is known from the western slopes of the Western Ghats in the Kerala.

  • The new find increases the total number of currently recognised wood snakes to five species. 

Xylophis:

  • Xylophis is a small genus of snakes in the family Pareidae.

  • The genus contains five species, all of which are endemic to the Western Ghats in southern India.

  • They constitute the monotypic subfamily Xylophiinae.

  • They are the only pareid snakes found in India and the only snakes in the family found outside Southeast Asia.

Wood snakes:

  • Wood snakes are harmless, sub-fossorial.

  • Often found while digging soil in farms and under the logs in the Western Ghat forests.

  • They feed on earthworms and possibly other invertebrates.

  • Interestingly, their close relatives are found in northeast India and Southeast Asia and are known to be arboreal.

SOURCE: The Hindu