New species snake Boiga gocool discover in Tripura

Tanmoy Chakraborty

 A recent study has discovered a new species of snake in the state which was identified as Eastern Cat Snake Boiga gocool.
The study was carried out by Sumit Nath, Biswajit Singh, Chiranjib Debnath and Joydeb Majumder which was published in journal of threatened Texa.
The study said that Northeastern India has rich herpetofauna diversity, with 102 species of snakes, represented by six families comprising 42 genera with some new snake genera and species recently discovered. 
“So far 21 species of snakes under 19 genera and six families have been reported from Tripura. Earlier, only one species of the genus Boiga, B.ochracea was recorded from the state. Boiga gocool is a  nocturnal,  arboreal,  mildly venomous snake that occurs in tropical semi-evergreen and degraded forests, tall grasslands, and tea gardens at lower elevations of 50–1,000 m.  It feeds mainly on lizards but sometimes also on small birds and mammals. Boiga gocoolis poorly known, has a narrow distribution, and is thus rarely reported in regional inventory reports with only a few preserved specimens in scientific collections”, the report said.
The study said that the snake which was found in Tripura is a southern Asian species having definite distribution records from northern and eastern India, Bangladesh, and Bhutan. 
In India B. Gocoolis reported from Assam- Manas National Park, Guwahati , Kaziranga National Park, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim, West Bengal, northern Odisha, and Uttar Pradesh and it  has  been  listed  as  Schedule  IV  species  under  the  Indian  Wildlife  (Protection)  Act, 1972 (Ahmed et al. 2009) whereas under IUCN Red List category, it stands as ‘Not Evaluated’. In this note, the researchers reported their sighting of B.  gocool in  Tripura. 
The researchers have carried out the survey within the Khowai district of the state.
“The observation made by us  was  based  on opportunistic sightings in the field. On 12 July 2020, during a field visit to Khowai, we noticed a snake passing by near the Khowai river bridge at evening. The snake was restrained using a snake hook with utmost safety for making morphological observations  and measurements.  Photographs  were  taken  using  DSLR camera. The length of the individual from snout to vent (SVL) was measured by measuring tape. Gender was confirmed by observing everted hemipenis of the individual and subsequently, the snake was released where it was initially observed”, the study informed. 
The gender of the individual was confirmed as male, by observing everted hemipenis. The length of the individual from snout to vent (SVL) measured 652 mm and tail length (TL) was 165 mm. Comparing the above data with the identification keys and descriptions specified in standard literature  the snake was positively identified as Boiga gocool. The current record of B. gocool from Tripura eventually fills the void in its northeastern Indian distribution.