Venomous snake species named after the perfect Harry Potter character

A newly discovered pit viper gets some Slytherin love.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Trimeresurus salazar is a lovely-looking newly discovered pit viper species.

Aamod Zambre and Chintan Seth, Eaglenest Biodiversity Project

You discover a new snake species. You get to name it. Naturally, you turn to the world of Harry Potter and pick Salazar Slytherin, the founder of the Slytherin house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. It just makes sense. 

Trimeresurus salazar is the name of a newly discovered species of venomous green pit viper found in India. The fictional Slytherin had the magical ability to talk to snakes, making it a fitting moniker. The research team behind the find suggested "Salazar's pit viper" for the common name.

The team published its findings in the journal Zoosystematics and Evolution this month. "The new green pit viper demonstrates a unique orange to reddish stripe, present on the head and body in males," the journal's publisher Pensoft said in a statement on Tuesday

The snake was found in an area of India known as the Himalayan biodiversity hotspot. There may be many more previously unknown species of animals in this region.

"Future dedicated surveys conducted across northeastern India will help document biodiversity, which is under threat from numerous development activities that include road widening, agriculture, and hydro-electric projects," said lead author Zeeshan Mirza of the National Centre for Biological Sciences in India.

Salazar's pit viper joins an entertaining lineup of critters named for Harry Potter characters, including a sorting-hat spider and crab called Harryplax severus. We can welcome this new pit viper as the latest fantastic beast.

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