• Lycodon Odishi is the 297th species of snakes found in India - Debi Prasad Samal
A new species of snake, discovered in Berhampur in Ganjam district last year, has been named after the state as Lycodon Odishi.

A research paper on the new species has been published by the Russian Journal of Herpetology, an international science journal, in its latest edition published on Friday. It was rescued by Snake Helpline, a voluntary organization working for the rescue and rehabilitation of snakes, and subsequently studied in depth by a group of amateur herpetologists and scholars from Odisha.

“The snake was found in Berhampur in July 2013 and brought to Bhubaneswar for further research. After months of research, it was found out that it is the 297th species of snakes found in India and the first in Odisha which is a matter of joy for us,” says Dr Sibaprasad Parida, noted herpetologist.

“Initially it was considered as Lycodon Jara species which was found in other parts of India. We got in touch with Russian Journal on Herpetology, a major international research organization on reptiles and snakes, and with further inputs and research we found out that there are 12 basic differences between Lycodon Odishi and Lycodon Jara with Odissi having distinct features like yellow ring on the borders of the body and different kind of body construction and egg inside it,” adds Dr Parida.

The research paper's author and secretary of Snake Helpline, Subhendu Mallik, explains “Lycodon Jara can grow up to 550mm whereas the length of Lycoden Odissi is 350 mm. This vast difference in length confirmed by Russian Journal on Herpetology gave the species a new name as it is only found in Odisha.”

Zoologist Dr Asish Mohanty who is a member of the research team, adds, “Although this species existed on earth they were never found and named. Two similar snakes are preserved in Regional museum of natural History here in Bhubaneswar.”