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New Species Of Rough-Sided Snake Discovered In Sri Lanka

De Silva’s rough-sided snake's coloration resembles the soil in the habitat in which it lives.

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Researchers in Sr Lanka have discovered a new species of rough-sided snake that features a coloration that resembles the soil color in which the reptile is found. 

Called De Silva’s rough-sided snake (Aspidura desilvai), and named after Pilippu Hewa Don Hemasiri de Silva, a published herpetologist and former director of the National Museums of Sri Lanka, the snake lives in Central Highlands of Sri Lanka, including the Central Hills, Rakwana Hills and Knuckles Hills. Its habitat includes montane and sub-montane forests, savanna, patana grassland and scrubland. 


Sri Lanka Reptiles

The snake closely resembles both A. ravanai and A. trachyprotoca, and conducted detailed comparisons of all three species. 

“They are only found in this single habitat, and are readily distinguished from their coastal scale count and the color pattern,” L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe, the paper’s lead author  and founder of the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka, told Mongabay. 

The (new) species is threatened by habitat destruction from the expansion of existing roads and an increase in the number of visitors travelling in vehicles,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “During the study period alone, the researchers observed as many as seven road kills of A. desilvai, in the Reverseturn area alone.”

An abstract of the paper, "A new species of Aspidura Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Colubridae: Natricinae) from Knuckles, World Heritage Site, Sri Lanka" can be read on the Biotaxa website