Two new species of snakes have been found in Madhya Pradesh. They were spotted by forest department in their annual survey.
Another one snake received special mention and recognition in the analysis, as it is endemic and found only in Panchmarhi, Madhya Pradesh.
Additional principal chief conservator of forests (APCCF) Subharanjan Sen said, “We have detected two new species of snakes in the state, namely Lycodon flavomaculatos (Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake); and Eryx Whitakeri (Whitaker’s Boa).”
With these two added to MP’s collection, we now have 31 species of snakes in the state.
“Like all animals in the web of life, snakes play an important role in our ecosystem by maintaining a balance to the food web,” Sen said. He added that because snakes are both predator and prey, they keep the pest population down by feeding on mice and other small rodents that damage crops and carry disease.
The detection of two new species is a positive sign towards MP’s biodiversity. “Biodiversity provides functioning ecosystems that supply oxygen, clean air and water, pollination of plants, pest control, wastewater treatment and many ecosystem services,” Sen said.
Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake
Lycodon flavomaculatus, commonly called the yellow-spotted wolf snake, is a species of colubrid snake. The yellow spots differentiate the species from the normally seen wolf snake.
Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake is a rare species of Lycodon (genus of Wolf Snakes) found in dry parts of central-western peninsular India and few localities of Western Ghats.
Yellow-spotted Wolf Snake is a nocturnal species which shows activity both on ground and heights of rocks (prefers ground).
The interesting Whitaker’s Boa
Eryx whitakeri is a species of non-venomous snake in the subfamily Erycinae of the family Boidae.
The specific name, Whitakeri, as well as both of the above common names, are in honour of American-born, Indian herpetologist Romulus Whitaker.
E. Whitakeri is found in south-western coastal India in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, and southern Maharashtra.
Its irregular blotches reminiscent of the common sand boa are faintly visible, and the whole snake is of a reddish hue like the red sand boa
Special mention snake: Uropeltis Ellioti only found Panchmarhi
Uropeltis Ellioti, commonly known as Elliot's earth snake, is a species of snake in the family Uropeltidae. The species is endemic to India and only found in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh.
Uropeltis Ellioti is generally found in southern India. Like all other Shieldtails species-level identification of Elliot's Shieldtail is not easy especially in Western Ghats and South India because of presence of many other species of same genus.
It’s named after Sir Walter Elliot (1803-1887), who was a career civil servant in the East India Company, Madras (1821-1860).