Saturday, March 26, 2011
The Kerala Mud Snake Rediscovered
The Kerala Mud Snake, Enhydris dussumierii is known only from the type speciemens collected in the 19th century by E. dussumierii Jean-Jacques Dussumier (1792–1883), a French nobleman, mariner and naturalist, who collected vertebrate specimens from many parts of Asia, sending them to Paris. The species was described by Duméril et al. as Eurostus dussumierii. Now A. Buji Kumar and Ashok Captian report on three specimens of E. dussumierii were collected from Vellayani Lake, Thiruvananthapuram District, Kerala, India, during a biodiversity survey of the lake. In Vellayani, this species was found at the muddy edges of the lake. One specimen contained a partially digested climbing perch (Anabas testudineus). Fishermen encounter E. dussumierii while excavating mud to catch the fish known as the snakehead (Channa spp.). The snakes are also found buried in the mud and when disturbed, take shelter in grasses and aquatic plants along lake's shoreline. It has been reported to bite and it is mildly venomous, fishermen reported the bite as painful.
Kumar, A. B. and A. Captain. 2011. Recent records of the endemic Kerala mud snake, Enhydris dussumierii (Duméril, Bibron & Duméril, 1854) from India. Current Science 100:928-931.