What is Sahyadriophis Uttaraghati?

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What is Sahyadriophis Uttaraghati? Blog Image


A team of researchers recently identified a new genus and species of colubrid snakes named ‘Sahyadriophis uttaraghati’ within the biodiverse Western Ghats.

About Sahyadriophis Uttaraghati:

  • The new genus has been named Sahyadriophis, a combination of the Sanskrit word for the Western Ghats ‘Sahyadri’ and the Greek word for snakes ‘Ophis’.
  • The new species, located in the northern part of the Western Ghats, is called Sahyadriophis uttaraghati or Northern Sahyadri keelback.
  • Features:
    • These snakes are mostly active during monsoons and are often found near streams.
    • Their diet primarily consists of frogs and their eggs.
    • These snakes are gentle in nature and rarely bite when handled.
    • The juveniles bear a big blotch or a collar mark on the nape, which distempers as the animal grows.
    • It can be differentiated from its southern counterpart—Sahyadriophis beddomei (Beddome’s Sahyadri keelback)—by a longer tail and higher number of scales on the tail's underside, known as subcaudals.


What are Colubrid Snakes?

  • A colubrid is any of the numerous, diverse, largely nonvenomous snakes that comprise the reptile family Colubridae.
  • The Colubridae family is one of the largest snake families, consisting of over 1,800 species.
  • They are characterized by the absence of hind limbs.
  • They are found in various regions around the world, except for Antarctica and some remote oceanic islands.
  • Habitats: They inhabit a wide range of environments, including forests, grasslands, deserts, wetlands, and aquatic habitats.
  • Venom:
    • The majority of colubrid snakes are non-venomous.
    • However, there are a few exceptions within the Colubridae family, such as the rear-fanged snakes, which possess mild venom but are not considered dangerous to humans.
  • Among well-known colubrids are king snakes, watersnakes, milk snakes, gartersnakes, racers, ratsnakes, ring-necked snakes, hog-nosed snakes, and the venomous boomslangs.


Q1) What are Keelbacks?

A keelback is a type of non-venomous snake belonging to the family Colubridae. The term "keelback" is often used to describe snakes with a distinct ridge or keel along the scales on their back. This keel is more pronounced than the smooth scales found on some other snake species. Keelbacks are found in various parts of the world and exhibit a range of characteristics depending on the species.

Source: New specie, genus of snakes discovered in Western Ghats