Researchers have described a new species of venomous snake, from one of the deadliest and most medically significant groups of snakes in Asia. The new reptile species, the Suzhen’s krait (Bungarus suzhenae), was previously grouped together with the many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus). However, after careful examination of the features and mitochondrial DNA sequence data from snake specimens collected between 2016 and 2019 from Yunnan province, China, researchers decided there were enough differences to warrant a new species. The findings are published in the journal ZooKeys. The new krait species, Bungarus suzhenae. Photo by Dr. Li Ding (CC-BY 4.0). An adult female Suzhen’s krait (Bungarus suzhenae). Photo from Chen et al 2021. The Suzhen’s kraits are found in rice fields and streams in monsoon forests at elevations from 800 to 1,560 meters (2,600 to 5,100 feet) above sea level in southwestern China and northern Myanmar. A distinct number of bands, variations in its teeth, and the shape of its hemipenes, or male reproductive organ, distinguish it from other members of the krait family. Understanding the differences between lethal snakes provides essential information for antivenin development and proper snakebite treatment, the authors say. Researchers believe it was this species of snake that killed famed herpetologist Joseph B. Slowinski during a 2001 expedition in northern Myanmar. “Three species of the black-and-white banded kraits from China were previously put under the same name — many-banded krait, which would hinder appropriate medical treatment,” the authors said in a statement. “It is very dangerous,” Gernot Vogel of the Society…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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