Beautiful New Snake Species Discovered In India

Researchers discovered not only a new species but also a new genus of colubrid snake.

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The Wallace Striped snake was named after Alfred Russel Wallace, co-author of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Via PLOS ONE
John Virata

Researchers in India have discovered a new snake — and also a new snake genus — in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

The snake is a beautiful yellow in coloration on its back and sports a black stripe running the length of its body with a white belly rounding out this beauty. It has been named the Wallace Striped snake, in honor of British naturalist and biologist Alfred Russel Wallace, co-author with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution by natural selection, reports.

Herpetologist Zeeshan Mirza, co-author of the paper describing the new species and genus in the journal PLOS ONE, says that when he first saw a picture of the snake in 2007, he found it odd looking and wanted to get a second opinion as to its identity.

The Wallace Striped snake was discovered in Gujarat, India. Via Google Maps

The Wallace Striped snake was discovered in Gujarat, India. Via Google Maps

It wasn’t until 2014 that an actual snake, and not a photo, had been found by reptile enthusiast Jaydeep Maheta. The researchers went to work, doing what herpetologists do, analyzing the reptile’s scales, number of teeth, bone morphology and, lastly, DNA to determine that the snake was indeed a new species. They compared their data with that of available data of other colubrid snakes, such as racers, royal snakes and whip snakes, and found that the snake was unique, and not of any known genus.

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