TitleA new species of snake of the genus Oligodon Boie in Fitzinger, 1826 (Reptilia, Serpentes) from the Western Himalayas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsMirza ZA, Bhardwaj VKumar, Patel H
JournalEvolutionary Systematics
Date Published11/2021

A new species of Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826 is described based on specimens collected from Churah Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The new species is related to O. arnensis based on molecular as well as morphological data, however differs from it in several aspects. The new species shows a pairwise sequence divergence of 6–20% from congeners for mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Lack of pterygoid and palatine teeth of the new species suggests that the diet may largely comprise of eggs. Discovery of the new species is not surprising, as the Western Himalayas has been poorly explored in terms of its herpetofaunal diversity. Considerable genetic divergence in the sampled sequence suggests Oligodon arnensis is a species complex, likely represents multiple species and a revision of the group would be desirable.