Bhubaneswar: A team of herpetologists led by Odia scientist Dr Ashok Mallik has discovered two new species and revalidated two species of pit viper snake.
Pit viper is a venomous snake that has habitation in wetland, humid forest and mountains. Though mostly found in peninsular India, the bamboo pit viper species of the snake has also been spotted in Odisha where it is called ‘Garta Badha’.
Speaking to Odisha Bytes, Dr Mallik said 4 species of one genus of pit viper have been chronicled in the country so far. These species are detected in the Western Ghats, Eastern Ghats and the Northeast.
Of the four species, Dr Mallik and his team has been researching on three species. Their research led to discovery of two new species of pit viper. Two other species of the snake, which were identified earlier but not chronicled, were validated by the team.
Dr Mallik said with their discovery, the total species of the snake now have no gone up to 8 that are found in the peninsular India.
Dr Mallik, who is currently working as a lecturer in Zoology at Derabish Degree College, Kendrapara said the new species discovered by him are Craspedocephalus peltopelor which is found in South-Western Ghat and Craspedocephalus travancoricus in Kerala. The species which they have re-validated are Craspedocephalus anamallensis in Tamil Nadu and Craspedocephalus occidentalis in Western Ghat.
The research team had collected the samples of pit viper from the Western and Eastern Ghats and Northeast India. “After capturing the snakes live, their tissue and scale samples were collected by non-intrusive methods. The reptiles were then released unharmed in their natural habitats,” said Dr Mallik, who is also a visiting researcher in Indian Institute of Science.