New snake species discovered in Mizoram named after Mizo warrior



During a survey for herpetofauna species in villages not far from the capital city Aizawl, a team of researchers from Mizoram University discovered a species of non-venomous snake.

According to the research team, the snake is about 50 cm long and dark brown and yellow in colour. Though the head scales are uniformly dark brown it has bright pinkish sutures.

The Stoliczkia genus consists of three species – Stoliczkia khasiensis, Stoliczkia borneensis and newly identified Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai.  S. vanhnuailianai is known only from a single specimen at a point locality and further studies are needed to know its distributional range, ecological preferences, and tolerances, the research team informed.

The snake has been named Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai in honour of Vanhnuailiana, a Mizo warrior. 

The common name of Stoliczkia vanhnuailianai is 'Lushai Hills dragon snake' and in the local Mizo language, it is called 'Rulphusin,' meaning 'snake with small scales'.

Samuel Lalronunga, K. Lalhmanghiha, Isaac Zosangliana, Esther Lalhmingliani, David J Gower, Abhijit Das, and V. Deepak were part of the research team and the findings on this snake were published in Zootaxa, a New Zealand-based journal.

(Edited by Aparmita Das)

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