New snake species found in Vietnam

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Vietnamese and foreign scientists have found a new species of snake in Vietnam, China, and Laos, VnExpress reported on Thursday.

The snake, which belongs to the genus Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826, was named Oligodon Nagao David, Nguyen, Nguyen, Jiang, Chen, Teynié & Zigle, the news website said.

Its recognizable characteristics include 15 or 17 dorsal scale rows at its mid-body, a rather short tail around 92-107 millimeters long --  and a dorsal pattern made of numerous dark and butterfly-shaped blotches, said Dr. Nguyen Quang Truong, a member of the research group.

It also has a long head and a body of between 561-680-millimeters in length, the scientist was quoted as saying.

He said Oligodon Nagao lived on limestone hills and mountains between 170 and 470 meters above sea level.

In Vietnam it was mainly located in the northern provinces of Lang Son and Cao Bang.

It is the 20th species of the genus, commonly known as kukri snakes, that has been recorded in Vietnam, he added.

The research group, including French, German and Chinese scientists, announced their discovery last month in the zoological taxanomist journal Zootaxa, based on research in southern China, northern Vietnam and central Laos, according to VnExpress.

It said the new species was named after the Japanese-owned NGO Nagao Natural Environment Foundation, which funds biodiversity reserve activities in developing countries in the Asia Pacific.

So far some 75 species have been recognized as belonging to the genus Oligodon Fitzinger, 1826, making it one of the largest genera of Asiatic snakes.

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