Posted by: Loren Coleman on December 25th, 2008
The Indian News Service, IANS, is reporting on December 25th, that a new species of blind snake has been discovered for the first time in Himachal Pradesh. The 287 mm long specimen has 25 rows of scales around its shiny dark brown body and was found from a village in the state’s Mandi district.
This species, large worm snake, was classified by scientists of the Solan-based Zoological Survey of India (ZSI).
Its scientific name is Typhlops diardii of family Typhlopidae. (But records indicate this species was first described in 1839.- LC)
The scientists – H.S. Mehta, Uttam Saikia and D.K. Sharma – have got the sample of the species from a village in Mandi district.
‘Worm snakes are harmless blind species found mainly in Southeast Asia. They are burrowing reptiles that lead a secretive life. Because of the subterranean mode of existence, they are rarely seen and probably one of the reasons for little knowledge about their biology and ecology,’ Mehta told IANS.
The worm snake was found by a farmer in Sarkaghat tehsil of Mandi district while digging a pit in his mango orchard.
The specimen of the worm snake has been kept in the ZSI laboratory.
‘The total length of the snake specimen is 287 mm. Its tail length is 65 mm. This specimen corresponds to the subspecies T. diardii diardii i.e. western large worm snake,’ he said.
The large worm snake looks like an earthworm but grows up to 430 mm in length. They feed on earthworms and like moist conditions.
Saikia said reptile fauna was one of the least studied animal groups in this hill state.
‘The Russell’s viper, checkered keelback and the rat snake are among the common snake species in the state,’ he said.
Himachal Pradesh, which supports diverse types of forests, has 13,082 sq km under dense and open forests, which constitutes 23 per cent of the total geographical area of the state. This storehouse of biodiversity supports 3,120 species of flowering plants, besides 5,721 species of fauna, which is about seven percent of the total animal life recorded in the country.
However, only 100 species of vertebrate and invertebrate fauna are observed regularly, according to a biodiversity report of the Himachal State Council for Science, Technology and Environment.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.