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Bhupathy’s Shield tail

Bhupathy’s Shield tail

Why in news?

  • A New species of snake has been found in Western Ghats in Tamil Nadu.

Bhupathy’s Shield tail:

  • Bhupathy’s shieldtail is currently found only in the Anaikatty Hills of Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore district.
  • Just 40 cm long and iridescent brown, Bhupathy’s shieldtail is the latest addition to the snake fauna of the Western Ghats.
  • The reptile belongs to a family of snakes found only in peninsular India and Sri Lanka.
  • They are non-venomous, burrowing and mostly earthworm-eating.
  • They are called shield tails after the large, flat tips of their tails, which make them appear almost sliced off.
  • The new species has more than 200 scales which is its most characteristic distinguishing feature.
  • Threats to the new species include road traffic at the Anaikatty-Coimbatore State Highway passes through its habitat and soil is being extracted for brick manufacturing.
  • The discovery takes the number of known species of shield tails in India to 41.
  • The country is home to more than 300 snake species.    Bhupathy’s Shield tail
  • New species of snakes are being discovered worldwide too, and Central and South America are considered the regions with the highest snake diversity: 886 of the approximately 3500 snake species in the world are seen there.

Bhupathy’s shieldtail was named in honour of Dr Subramanian Bhupathy who was a noted Indian herpetologist. Scientifically it is named Uropeltis bhupathyi. It differs from other members of its group as it has a broader and longer head. It also has more number of scales on its belly.  Bhupathy’s Shield tail



Environment & Biodiversity

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