Assam keelback spotted for the first time in 129 years

#GS3 #Environment

 

Why in news?

The Assam keelback snake has been sighted by a team from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, for the first time since 1869. This snake was spotted in 2018 by zoologist Abhijit Das when he, along with a team, was retracing the Abor expedition. 

 

Abhor Expedition

  • An iconic expedition that took place from 1911-­1912 that had yielded a rich list of flora and fauna of the Assam region.

 

Keelback snake:

  • First known as Hebius pealii this snake was named after Edward Peal, a British tea planter who first collected two specimens of this snake from upper Assam, 129 years ago. 
  • The Assam keelback is so far known only to inhabit Sivasagar in Upper Assam and Poba in the Assam­Arunachal border. So, as far as present knowledge goes, it is an endemic snake of Upper Assam. 
  • Through a molecular study, the team has shown that this snake belongs to the genus Herpetoreas, which has only three other known members.
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