Western Ghats Current Affairs - 2019

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New snake species named Melanophidium Khairei discovered in Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered new species of burrowing snake named Melanophidium khairei or Khaire’s Black Shieldtail in Northwestern Ghats.

This new snake species was correctly identified after a gap of 144 years as it was earlier wrongly identified as identified as Melanophidium Punctatum or Pied-bellied Shieldtail.

Key facts

  • The snake belongs to family Uropeltidae, which comprises all species which are burrowers and live mostly underground.
  • It is burrowing snake of the genus melanophidium. It is found in evergreen forests and rarely above ground in southern Maharashtra, Goa and northern Karnataka.

Melanophidium Khairei has been named after Neelimkumar Khaire, the legendary founder of Pune based Katraj Snake Park and Indian Herpetological Society.

New snake genus and a species discovered in Gujarat

Researchers have discovered a new snake genus Wallaceophis and a species named gujaratenisis from Gujarat.

The genus was named after Alfred Russel Wallace for his pioneering work on biogeography, and for co-discovering the theory of natural selection.

The snake belongs to group of colubrid snakes and has similar scalation, tooth number, bone morphology and DNA of other snakes in this group.

There are more than 1,800 species of Colubrid snakes (Family Colubridae) across the world.

New species of tree frog named Ghatixalus magnus discovered in Western Ghats

Researchers have discovered a new species of tree frog named as Ghatixalus magnus in the Western Ghats in Kadalar High Ranges of Idukki district, Kerala.

It was discovered by team of researchers comprising of Robin Abraham and batrachologis Anil Zachariah during their recent exploration in the Western Ghats. The discovery has been published in the latest issue of International Taxonomic Journal Zootaxa.

Ghatixalus magnus is species of Rhacophorid tree frog of the genus Ghatixalus. It is large in size and biggest known tree frog from the Western Ghats.

In their exploration, researchers also have rediscovered Raorchestes flaviventris, an elusive rhacophorid bush frog species in the Kadalar High Ranges of Idukki district in Kerala. The rediscovered species was discovered by George Albert Boulenger in 1882 in the Western Ghats.