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The Arunachal Rain Snake has been a difficult snake to catch up with. A sighting is so rare that it took a motley crew of researchers and herpetologists from India and the UK 15 years to track it down.
The journey involved traversing the globe, scouting museums for similar specimens, reconstructing a damaged sample, and many years of research and field trips.
Now the yellow-and-black zigzag patterned snake species is on record and has a scientific name and taxonomic status, Smithopis arunchalensis.
It has been reported as a new species in Zootaxa journal as the fourth species under the genus Smithopis.
This is the fourth described species under the genus Smithophis, found only in Northeast India, Myanmar and Southern China.
However, the habitat of the snake where it has been spotted is located at the downstream of the proposed Etalin Hydropower Project. The project will disturb the habitat of an already rare species and has raised concern among environmentalists. Many such hydroelectric projects are known to submerge the habitats of wildlife. Therefore, it is imperative that such development projects strike a balance with the environment as many wildlife species edge towards the brink of extinction due to loss of habitats.
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