A striking new species of ground snake of the genus Stegonotus has been found from the River Purari’s basin in Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea.
This species of snake is resplendent with dotted pigmentation and a unique colour pattern.
The newly found species is a rare beauty to exist and is quite a bit of coloured one. This uniquely designed snake species is diversely populated in southern Papua New Guinea and difficult to be spotted even in the bright light of the daytime.
The species has a different pattern of pigmentation on its body than that found on other snakes of the genus. In layman’s terms, this snake can be recognized by its coffee-coloured body texture. The reasons for its rareness will be disclosed further as we move forth into the expedition…
About the new species
The new species of the snake has been named Stegonotus aplini. It’s distinguishable by the unique dorsal pattern consisting of a dark head and creamy white anterior one-third to two-thirds of its body, shifting into an increasingly dense dark pigmentation on the posterior of the body and its tail.
It depicts a lower ventral scale count and a unique temporal scale configuration than its closest relative S. iridis. The head is light brown in contrast with the snow-white anterior body and a dark brown tail.
Unique features of the S.aplini
The other snakes of Stegonotus are generally found in uniform grey, brown or even black colour. It distinguishes itself from all its congeners due to its colouration and pattern.
They are longer in size in comparison to their relatives and have other domains of difference.
The colouration of the snake in life and preservation varies by some fraction. A few scattered dark brown spots can be spotted on the pale background by mid-body with the persistence of white pigment on the lower dorsal scale rows.
The new snake species has been named in honour of Dr Ken Aplin (1958-2019). He has been honoured for his immaculate contributions to New Guinean herpetology. The researcher’s experiences in Melanesia provided great information on the region’s living and non-living vertebrate fauna.
Habitat of the S.aplini
Though a great diversity of the species is exclusive to New Guinea, the preferred regions by this snake are Borneo and the Philippines in the northwest, to New Guinea and Australia in the southwest.
These are the 25th species of Stegonotus to be discovered and 14th to be located in Guinea which proves their abundance in this area.
They were found commonly in both lowland forests remote to human habitation as well as in the gardens of the villagers.
Regarding their hunting practices, S.alpini are nocturnal serpents and forage on the forest floors for their prey during the night time.
These reptiles were found attempting to strike the researchers on being captured but rest assured they are not as venomous as expected naturally. As the view of a snake is often misleading and threatening so to fear it is a noticeable response.
–by SAMBHAVI YADAV