Meet the new snake named after a Harry Potter character

Welcome to Hogwarts

Carla Challis

Scientists in India have discovered a new species of snake – and named it after a notorious Harry Potter character. The newly found species of green pit viper has been given the moniker Trimeresurus Salazar, a tribute to Salazar Slytherin. In JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, Slytherin is one of the co-founders of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry - along with Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff and Rowena Ravenclaw - and founder of the House of Slytherin. His character has the ability to talk to snakes and uses a serpent on the crest of his Hogwarts House, so it's a fitting name for this newly found snake species!

Slytherin crest

A snake features on the Slytherin crest

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Researchers from the National Centre for Biological Sciences and Bombay Natural History Society discovered the snake, which will be known as Salazar's pit viper, in Arunachal Pradesh in India. The new green pit viper is said differ from other types of its species because of a "unique orange to reddish stripe, present on the head and body in males." Pit vipers are venomous and commonly found throughout Asia and are "morphologically cryptic, which makes it difficult to distinguish them in the field," according to Dr Zeeshan Mirza, lead researcher from the National Centre for Biological Science of Bangalore, India. There are at least 48 known species of pit viper, with 15 of them found in India.


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Salazar's pit viper isn’t the first animal named after a Harry Potter character. In 2017 a newly discovered wasp was named Lusius malfoyi, after the villainous Lucius Malfoy; scientists named a new spider species the Eriovixia gryffindori because of its uncanny resemblance to the sorting hat owned by Godric Gryffindor; while a new type of wolf spider was named Lycosa aragogi after the spider Aragog, owned by Hagrid.

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