When fauna and flora are in abundance they display the richness of a country’s bio-diversity. Young researchers and scientists have discovered and introduced a new species. Such tasks can be termed as a national responsibility. This is the story of a discovery and introduction of a new serpent (reptile) by a Sri Lankan research team.
The young researchers have been able to locate the new species in the slopes of Sripada (Adam’s Peak) forest reserve in the central hills. This new species has been named ‘Aspidura Ravanai’. It has been zoologically introduced to the world of science by the group of researchers comprising Mendis Wickremesinghe, Dulan Ranga Widanapathirana , H.K. Dushantha Kandambi, R. Alexander and Nethu Wickremesinghe.
The young researchers have been able to locate the new species in the slopes of Sripada (Adam’s Peak) forest reserve in the central hills. This new species has been named ‘Aspidura Ravanai’
According to them, this species has a clear difference from ’Aspidura’ due to distinct features such as unique colour pattern, scale system and molecular inheritance. They have stated about this in the research paper named ZOOTAXA published in the international Science magazine on November 13. The number of reptile species reported in Sri Lanka is about eight with this new discovery, according to these researches.
Dushantha Kandambi, a member of this research team, has pointed out that this Aspidura species is a kind of a serpent endemic to this country alone. He adds that the number of serpents reported in Sri Lanka is about 51. Accordingly, the entire number of serpents has increased up to 104.
They say that they were able to identify this serpent species when they were engaged in the documentation of the reptiles and the diversity of amphibians living in natural forest reserve of the Samanala Kanda, which belongs to Knuckles World heritage Zone in the central hills of Sri Lanka.
According to them, this new serpent species that has been named as ‘Ravana’s Medilla’ can mostly be found in the hilly forests located at the altitude of 1650 – 2000 ft. from the sea level. Their habitats can be seen in the layers, with the depth ranging from 30 cm, among the decayed leaves and parts of trees and loose soil.
Kandambi further pointed out that this serpent species has been named as Ravanai, or Ravana’s Medilla alias ‘Aspidura Ravanai’ in order to remember the name of a ‘ Bherunda’ emperor by the name of king Ravana who is said to have possessed an incomparable intelligence and power and believed to have lived in this country about 5000 years ago. Accordingly, this serpent species has been introduced by the English name: Ravana’s rough-side Snake.