A new reptile has been discovered: it is that of the Chinese legend of the white snake

A new type of snake has been identified in China: it is the Suzhen krait, whose name refers to the mythical figure of Bai Su Zhen, a goddess linked to the legend of the white snake. The discovery was made possible thanks to a research that identified specimens between 2016 and 2019 in Yingjiang County, Yunnan province.

A new type of snake has been identified in China: it is the Suzhen krait, whose name refers to the mythical figure of Bai Su Zhen, a goddess linked to the legend of the white snake. The discovery was made possible thanks to a research that identified specimens between 2016 and 2019 in Yingjiang County, Yunnan Province. It is the same animal that killed herpetologist Joseph B. Slowinski in 2001 while he was leading an expedition to Northern Myanmar, which, however, had not been correctly described until now. The animal was identified in Myanmar and southwestern China thanks to scholars from Guangxi Normal University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Herpetological Society of Southeast Asia in Heidelberg, Germany, in the scientific journal Zookeys. The legend of the white snake According to Chinese legend, after thousands of years of magical practice the white snake Bai Su Zhen turned into a woman and fell in love with a man, Xu Xian. On Earth the two opened a hospital, saving many human lives thanks to magic and medicine. This love between the two, however, was not well seen among the gods, who forbade it and Bai Su Zhen was imprisoned forever in a tower. Since that day, for the Chinese, that white snake has been the sign of true love and of people of heart. Krait, a snake with a legendary name “The black and white banded krait is one of the snakes in nature closest to the white snake, so we decided to name it in honor of Bai Su Zhen,” say the authors. Krait are very lethal snakes: understanding their species diversity and geographical distribution is fundamental, scholars explain, also to save lives. Thanks to proper description and classification, research into their poisons and the development of their antidotes it is also possible to avoid mortality among humans due to their bites. The new study makes it easier, in fact, to distinguish between krait species from China and Southeast Asia. “Three species of black and white banded krait from China had previously been put under the same name: the many-banded krait,” the researchers say.

 

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