Rare Hi­malayan Worm Snake re­dis­cov­ered

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Front Page - Nihi Sharma ni­his.sa­hani@htlive.com


In­dian sci­en­tists have re­dis­cov­ered a rare snake in Ut­tarak­hand, which could un­veil evo­lu­tion­ary link be­tween In­dia, Sri Lanka and Myan­mar.

Hi­malayan Worm Snake (Trachis­chium laeve), also known as Olive Ori­en­tal Slen­der Snake, was spot­ted at Natin vil­lage in the Ut­tarkashi district in

June this year.

The snake was only de­scribed by sci­en­tist

Frank Wall in Naini­tal’s Muk­tesh­war in 1911 but no spe­cific lo­ca­tion was men­tioned or doc­u­mented.

Ex­perts claim that the snake, which be­longs to Trachis­chium genus, has sis­ter genus Blythia that is found in Myan­mar and an­other Aspidura in Sri Lanka.

All three genus show stark re­sem­blance and thus the dif­fer­ence in their pres­ence in dif­fer­ent ge­o­graph­i­cal ar­eas raises many ques­tions about the evo­lu­tion of the specie and also of th­ese coun­tries.

“It’s in­ter­est­ing how three genus were sep­a­rated over a span of mil­lion years. An in-depth study on Hi­malayan Worm Snake could help us found the evo­lu­tion­ary link be­tween the three coun­tries,” Ab­hi­jit Das, sci­en­tist at the Dehradun based Wildlife In­sti­tute of In­dia (WII), said.

The Trachis­chium genus has five species in In­dia of which four be­long to East­ern Hi­malayas (North East states), while Hi­malayan Worm Snake is the only specie found in

Western Hi­malayas.

There are not many stud­ies on the species found in North­east re­gion.

Das found the snake while study­ing the im­pact of cli­mate change on Her­peto­fauna (rep­tiles and am­phib­ians) as part of an en­vi­ron­ment min­istry study un­der the Na­tional Mis­sion for Sus­tain­able Hi­malayan Ecosys­tem (NMSHE).

The Hi­malayan Worm Snake is less than 30 cen­time­tres long and like other mem­bers of the fam­ily, it is a bur­row­ing snake.

Ex­perts in­form that the his­toric sig­nif­i­cance of this snake is greater than other com­mon snakes like King Co­bra, Pit Viper.

The snake is found in Hi­malayas and is in­of­fen­sive and non-venomous. It feeds on ants and their eggs.


The snake was only de­scribed by a sci­en­tist in Naini­tal’s Muk­tesh­war in 1911 but no lo­ca­tion was men­tioned.

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