India’s newest pit viper found in Arunachal Pradesh

A team of herpetologists led by Ashok Captain have described a new species of reddish-brown pit viper — a venomous snake with a unique heat-sensing system — from a forest in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. The discovery makes the Arunachal pit viper (Trimeresurus arunachalensis) the second serpent to have been discovered after the non-venomous crying keelback in the State’s Lepa-Rada district in 2018. The new species also makes Arunachal Pradesh the only Indian state to have a pit viper named after it. Before the Arunachal Pradesh discovery, India had four brown pit vipers — Malabar, horseshoe, hump-nosed and Himalayan — which were discovered 70 years ago. The discovery was recently published in the March-April volume of the Russian Journal of Herpetology.

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