Panaji: New Snake Species Found in Mhadei Region


Special Correspondent
Daijiworld Media Network - Goa

Panaji, Dec 23: Researchers working under the aegis of the Mhadei Bachao Abhiyaan have reported the documentation and photographic evidence of yet another forest species of snake- the Montane Trinket snake from the forests that surround the site of the Virdi Irrigation project in Maharashtra.

The Montane Trinket snake (Coelognathus helena monticollaris) is a non venomous species of forest snake that is endemic to India and has previously been documented in the Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary and the Mollem National Park of Goa. Found in the Western Ghats of India, this species is found only in certain parts of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka besides Maharashtra and Goa, stated environmentalist Nirmal Kulkarni.

"Being a slender bodied snake with a distinct coloration of a light olive brownish body and blackish spots accompanied by traverse stripes of white, the Montane Trinket snake prefers mixed moist deciduous and evergreen forest habitats and has on some occasions been observed to take residence in caves as well as abandoned man made structures," he said.
Mhadei Bachao Abhiyaan, a NGO opposing diversion of Mhadei river water, has also initiated a study of eco diversity in the surrounding forest.

Montane Trinket Snake is a diurnal snake which is also active at night, the behavior of this species is poorly studied and is acknowledged as an important species for reptile conservation.

Viviparous in nature that is giving birth to live young, this species is feeds on small mammals, birds, amphibians and other snakes too. It catches its prey with the help of camouflage and stealth and kills by constriction.
Kulkarni said that the team of field researchers had recorded three specimens of this species forests that surround the proposed Irrigation project while on a survey trip.

The Ornate Gliding snake (Chrysopelea ornata), the Boulengor' Bronze back snake (Dendrelaphis bifrenalis), the Brown Vine snake ( Ahaetulla pulverulenta) and the Olive Forest snake ( Rhabdops olivaceus)  have previously been recorded from this region which connects the forests of the Mhadei Wildlife sanctuary on one side and the reserved forests of Karnataka on the other and the rate of endemism is high in this region which is collectively called the Mhadei Bio Region, he added.

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