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Xylophis deepaki

  • 03 May 2021
  • 3 min read

Why in News

A tiny snake “Xylophis deepaki” has been named in honour of Indian herpetologist Deepak Veerappan for his contribution in erecting a new subfamily Xylophiinae to accommodate wood snakes.

  • The common name suggested for the species is 'Deepak’s wood snake'.

Key Points

  • About Xylophis deepaki:
    • It is a tiny snake of just 20 cm length with iridescent scales.
    • It was first found on a coconut plantation in Kanyakumari.
    • It is now reported to be an endemic species of Tamil Nadu and also been sighted in some parts of the southern Western Ghats.
      • It is found in the drier regions and in lower altitudes around Agasthyamalai hills.
  • About Xylophis:
    • It is a small genus of snakes in the family Pareidae.
    • It has five species, all of which are endemic to the Western Ghats in southern India.
      • Five Species: Xylophis Captaini, Xylophis deepaki, Xylophis Mosaicus, Xylophis Perroteri and Xylophis Stenorhynchus.
    • These five species constitute the monotypic subfamily Xylophiinae.
      • They are the only pareidae snakes found in India and the only snakes in the family found outside Southeast Asia.
  • About Wood Snakes:
    • These are harmless (non-venomous), sub-fossorial and often found while digging soil in farms and under the logs in the Western Ghat forests.
    • They feed on earthworms and possibly other invertebrates.
    • Their close relatives are found in Northeast India and Southeast Asia and are known to be arboreal (living in trees).
  • Related Information :
    • According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, 12% of assessed snake species are listed as threatened and their populations are in decline.
    • Each year, 2.7 million people around the world suffer a serious snakebite envenomation. The World Health Organization (WHO) classified snakebite as a neglected tropical disease to reduce snakebite in developing countries.
    • Save The Snakes is a dedicated initiative exclusively for snake conservation and human-snake conflict mitigation.

Agasthya Hills

  • Agasthya hill is a 1,868-metre tall peak within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Western Ghats of Kerala. The peak lies on the border of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This peak is a part of the Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve.
  • The peak is named after Hindu sage Agastya, who is considered to be one of the seven rishis (Saptarishi) of Hindu Puranas. It is a pilgrimage centre for devotees.
  • The Thamirabarani River is a perennial river which originates from the eastern side of the range and flows into the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.
  • Agasthyamala Biosphere Reserve is listed on UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (2016).

Source: TH

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