Friday, September 3, 2010

First Record of the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit Viper from the Republic of India.


First Record of the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit Viper (Protobothrops jerdoni xanthomelas) from the Republic of India.

While

conducting a Herpetofaunal survey of Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary, West Kameng

district, Arunachal Pradesh, India, during 2006-2008, four Indian researchers reported the first record of the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit viper (Protobothrops jerdoni xanthomelas).

This venomous sub-species of Jerdon’s Pit viper is an addition to the 278 plus species of snakes documented in the country. With the addition of this species, the number of pit vipers found in India has risen to over 21 species.

The earlier records of this snake are from central and southern China, from Henan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Sichuan, Guizhou, Hubei and Guangxi Provinces. The current range record of this subspecies from Lama Camp (West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, India) is a range extension of approximately 1,200 km southwest from Sichuan in China - the nearest area where the Jerdon’s Red Spotted Pit viper (P.j. xanthomelas) has been reported.

Four individuals of this snake were found by the team that included Amod Zambre from Pune, Chintan Sheth from Bangalore, Shashank Dalvi from Mumbai and Nirmal Kulkarni from Goa. All the individuals were found at 2,350 meters above sea level.

Pit vipers are highly evolved venomous snakes belonging to the sub family Crotalinae that have deep pit, or fossa, in the loreal area between the eye and the nostril on either side of the head. These loreal pits are the external openings to a pair of extremely sensitive infrared detecting organs, which in effect give the snakes a sixth sense that helps them to find and perhaps even judge the size of the small warm-blooded prey on which they feed

The Journal of Bombay Natural History Society, Mumbai, has accepted the research paper concerning this important find.

The team has thanked Ramana Athreya – Kaati Trust/Eagle-nest Biodiversity Project who provided funds to survey Eaglenest WLS, snake taxonomist Ashok Captain for editing and reviewing the manuscript; Indi ‘babu’ Glow for everything in Eaglenest. Kesang, Phurpa, Maila, Khandu, Jetha, Neema and Dorjee for their tireless help during field work. The team has also thanked the Arunachal Forest Department (especially P. Ringu and G. N. Sinha) for permissions to work in the area.

Regards,

Amod Zambre

Chintan Sheth

Shashank Dalvi

Nirmal Kulkarni

3 comments:

mamtanaidu said...

WOW!! What a beauty!!!

molarbear's posts said...

Wonderful discovery, and I can just imagine the hard work that must have gone into the whole effort. Congratulations Nirmal!

Shilpa Avate said...

Wow! How come I missed this post!Anyway that is one very beautiful snake species.
Congratulations to the whole team!