Maya’s Pit viper: New species of venomous snake registered from Northeast

What is the News?

A new venomous green snake named Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper was discovered at Umroi Military station in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya.

About Trimeresurus mayaae or Maya’s Pit viper
Trimeresurus mayaae
Source: The Hindu

The snake measures about 750 mm in length. It looked very similar to Pope’s Pit Viper but the colour of the eyes was different.

Maya’s pit snake and the Pope’s Pit Viper have very different hemepenis, the copulatory organ.

According to herpetologists, the new species was relatively common in Meghalaya, Mizoram and even in Guwahati.

Significance of the discovery: In India, around 1.2 million people have lost their lives owing to snakebite and many more have lost their limbs in the last two decades.

Venom is a complex protein, mostly typical to a species. Thus unravelling a new species will help understand its venom and its impact on human life and perhaps will help save lives,

About Pit Vipers

The Crotalinae sub family is commonly known as pit vipers. These are venomous vipers found in Eurasia and the Americas.

They are distinguished by the presence of a heat-sensing pit organ located between the eye and the nostril on both sides of the head. This helps them to accurately aim and strike at their warm-blooded prey.

They may be terrestrial, arboreal, or aquatic. Some species lay eggs; others produce live young.

Russell’s Viper and Saw-scaled Viper are the two most venomous viper species found in India and members of the big four poisonous and deadliest snakes in India. These snake species are responsible for the majority of snakebites in India.

Source: The post is based on the article “New species of venomous snake registered from Northeast” published in The Hindu on 21st May 2022.

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