In news: A tiny wood snake has been named as “Xylophis deepaki” to honour Indian herpetologist Deepak Veerappan for his contribution in erecting a new subfamily Xylophiinae for wood snakes.
About Xylophis deepaki:
- The common name suggested for the species is ‘Deepak’s wood snake’.
- It is a tiny snake of just 20 cm length with iridescent scales.
- It was first found on a coconut plantation in Kanyakumari.
- It is now reported to be an endemic species of Tamil Nadu.
- It has also been sighted in some parts of the Southern Western ghats, especially in the drier regions and in lower altitudes around Agasthyamalai hills.
Xylophis is a small genus of snakes in the family Pareidae. They constitute the monotypic subfamily Xylophiinae. The following 5 species are recognized as being valid which are all endemic to Western ghats-
- Xylophis captaini – Captain’s wood snake, Captain’s xylophis
- Xylophis deepaki – Deepak’s wood snake
- Xylophis mosaicus – Anamalai wood snake
- Xylophis perroteti – Perrotet’s mountain snake, striped narrow-headed snake
- Xylophis stenorhynchus – Günther’s mountain snake
They are the only pareidae snakes found in India and the only snakes in the family found outside Southeast Asia.