Five new species of snail-sucking snakes discovered

ScienceDaily | 6/14/2018 | Staff
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"Believe or not, there is an entire group of snakes for which snails are food from the gods," said lead author Alejandro Arteaga, a comparative biology Ph.D.-degree student in the Museum's Richard Gilder Graduate School. "But sadly, four of the five species we discovered are already facing the possibility of becoming extinct, as the forests remaining for them to survive are almost completely destroyed."

With more than 70 currently recognized species, snail-eating snakes are among the most diverse groups of tree-dwelling snakes. These snakes possess uniquely modified jaws, which give them the ability to suck the slimy body of a snail from its shell.

Arteaga - Alex - Pyron - George - Washington

Arteaga collaborated with Alex Pyron from The George Washington University to conduct a series of expeditions to rainforests in Ecuador between 2013 and 2017, which led to the discovery of three of the five new species: Dipsas bobridgelyi, considered endangered under International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria, Sibon bevridgelyi, considered vulnerable; and Dipsas klebbai. During the same period of time, two new species were also found in dry forests by scientists based in Ecuador and Peru: Dipsas oswaldobaezi and Dipsas georgejetti, both considered vulnerable.

The most threatened of the newly discovered species, D. bobridgelyi, is known only...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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