Rare Himalayan Worm Snake rediscovered
EXPERTS SAY THE SNAKE HAS SISTER GENUS BLYTHIA FOUND IN MYANMAR AND ANOTHER IN SRI LANKA
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
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.