1. FFI Australia
  2. FFI US
  3. Conservation Circle
Lycodon zoosvictoriae. Credit Neang Thy/FFI

Distinctive new wolf snake species discovered in Cambodia

Posted on: 10.06.14 (Last edited) 10 June 2014

‘Chequered’ snake named in honour of Zoos Victoria in Australia.

A distinctively patterned wolf snake is the latest species to be discovered in Cambodia’s diverse Cardamom Mountains.

The new snake has been named Lycodon zoosvictoriae in honour of the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board of Victoria, which has supported Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) studies in the region for several years.

The peculiar almost chequered colouration of the snake renders Lycodon zoosvictoriae highly distinct and allows it to be recognised from other wolf snakes, so named due to their large teeth in both jaws.

Scientists believe living in high altitude montane rainforest and a unique colouration has helped the snake remain overlooked, despite concerted survey efforts in the area.

New wolf snake species discovered in Cambodia, named in honour of Zoos Victoria. Credit: Neang Thy/FFI

New wolf snake species discovered in Cambodia, named in honour of Zoos Victoria. Credit: Neang Thy/FFI

Cambodian herpetologist Neang Thy, FFI’s research adviser in Phnom Penh, who both discovered and described the new species said, “Given its unique colouration, submontane habitat and altitudinal separation from other wolf snakes in the region, the species will probably prove to be endemic to the Cardamom Mountains.”

Thy was also responsible for naming the snake, adding, “The support FFI received from Zoos Victoria has helped build the capacity of Cambodian researchers and conservationists and has greatly improved understanding of Cambodia’s reptiles and amphibians.

“Naming this species in honour of Zoos Victoria will ensure a memorable and historical record of the support they’ve given FFI, both in discoveries and conservation of the Cardamoms,” Thy added.

Lycodon zoosvictoriae has an unusual chequered skin pattern. Credit: Neang Thy/FFI

Lycodon zoosvictoriae has an unusual chequered skin pattern. Credit: Neang Thy/FFI

Chris Banks, Manager of International Conservation Partnerships with Zoos Victoria said, “We are delighted to have a species named after us, and humbled to have our support for FFI’s Cambodian programme acknowledged in this way.”

This discovery is the eighth new snake to be found in the Cardamom Mountains since survey work began in 2000, and once again shows how much remains to be discovered in this region of Cambodia.

Published in Zootaxa, the abstract can be viewed online.

Written by
Jeremy Holden

Jeremy Holden is a photographer and field biologist who has worked in association with Fauna & Flora International since 1995. He specialises in camera trapping rare and cryptic animals in the rainforests of Southeast Asia.

Other posts by Jeremy Holden

Given its unique colouration, submontane habitat and altitudinal separation from other wolf snakes in the region, the species will probably prove to be endemic to the Cardamom Mountains

Make a donation

Related areas

Support Fauna & Flora International



Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated in England and Wales, Registered Company Number 2677068. Registered Charity Number 1011102
Fauna & Flora International Australia (Ltd) is a company limited by guarantee, and recognised as a Charitable Institution (ABN 75 132 715 783, ACN 132715783)
Fauna & Flora International Inc. is a Not for Profit Organisation in the State of Massachusetts. It is tax exempt (EIN #04-2730954) and has 501(c) (3) status
Fauna & Flora International Singapore is a public company limited by guarantee, Registration Number 201133836K. Registered charity under the Singapore Charities Act