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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Scientists discover a new species of snake with a shiny skin that lives underground

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Manish Saini
Manish works as a Journalist and writer at Revyuh.com. He has studied Political Science and graduated from Delhi University. He is a Political engineer, fascinated by politics, and traditional businesses. He is also attached to many NGO's in the country and helping poor children to get the basic education. Email: Manish (at) revyuh (dot) com

Scientists in Vietnam have discovered a new species of snake, which is very different from the others. First, the reptile stands out for its shiny skin with an iridescent coloration. Second, it’s got a strange kind of scale.

Researchers from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (USA) and the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources of the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology located this species with a dark coloration and small striated scales in the north of the Asian country, in the Ha Giang province, in a lowland region surrounded by forest.

Scientists still do not have data on the behavior, diet and micro-habitat of the snake, but they indicate in their study that it is an odd scale pattern species that was forced to surface by recent rains. The absence of bright light photoreceptors in this reptile’s eyes indicates that it may be hiding under the ground or moving under forest debris, the team says.

One of the special characters of this snake is that its back is blackish and purple. At the same time, its lower part has a dark brown color. Also, unlike other species of snakes, whose skin is completely hidden under their scales, the skin of this snake is exposed between the scales.

The researchers stumbled upon this surprising reptile while conducting a herpetology study in the Bac Me district. They then realized it was a new species, which they identified as Achalinus Zugorum, a rare genus of burrowing snakes, according to an analysis done. This name was chosen in honor of the renowned American conservative George Zug and his wife Patricia Zug.

They are a fascinating group of strange snakes due to their unique scutellation, distributed throughout East Asia. Currently, northern Vietnam is known to host six species of Achalinus, three of which are considered endemic.

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