Masquerading, deadly snake discovered and named after shape-shifting Chinese goddess

A deadly new snake has been discovered after spending decades masquerading as a much less dangerous species, according to researchers — who named the snake after a shape-shifting serpent goddess from a Chinese folktale.

The new species is a type of krait snake found in Southwest China and northern Myanmar and had previously been categorized as the many-banded krait (Bungarus multicinctus). However, morphological and genetic differences, as well as a particularly painful and deadly bite, were enough to classify this reptile as its own species.