King Cobra and the little snakes that challenge it

The imposing king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), instantly recognizable by its flaring hood, is the world’s biggest venomous snake and can grow to reach nearly 13 feet (4 meters) long. It inhabits a sizable kingdom across the Asian tropics, stretching from Indonesia to India.

However, new research reveals that the king cobra’s massive domain is not ruled by just one species; rather, there are four distinct species of king cobra.

The four proposed species (which are yet to be officially named) are the Western Ghats lineage in southwestern India; the Indo-Chinese lineage in Indonesia and western China; the Indo-Malayan lineage spanning India and Malaysia; and the Luzon Island lineage, found in the Philippines.