Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A rather thin and long new snake crawls out of one of Earth's biodiversity hotspots

Date:
November 27, 2012
Source:
Pensoft Publishers
Summary:
A team of Ecuadorian and American scientists have discovered a new species, belonging to a neotropical group of remarkably long arboreal (tree-dwelling) snakes: the blunt-headed vine snakes, from the Choco biodiversity hotspot in northwestern Ecuador. DNA data suggest that the closest relative of the new species lives on the other side of the Andes.

This is a live Imantodes chocoensis. Its head is about the size of an American penny.
Credit: Omar Torres-Carvajal et al. CC-BY 3.0

Field and laboratory work by a group of zoologists led by Omar Torres-Carvajal from Museo de Zoología QCAZ, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, has resulted in the discovery of a new species of blunt-headed vine snake from the Chocoan forests in northwestern Ecuador. This region is part of the 274,597 km2 Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena hotspot that lies west of the Andes.

The study was published in the open access journal ZooKeys.

Blunt-headed vine snakes live in an area comprising Mexico and Argentina, and are different from all other New World snakes in having a very thin body, disproportionately slender neck, big eyes, and a blunt head. They live in trees and hunt frogs and lizards at night. The new species described by Torres-Carvajal and his collaborators was named Imantodes chocoensis and increases the number of species in this group of snakes to seven.

Snakes collected as far back as 1994 and deposited in several Ecuadorian and American natural history museums were also examined. The authors were soon surprised with an interesting discovery. Some individuals from the Ecuadorian Chocó lacked a big scale on their face that is present in all other blunt-headed vine snakes from the New World. Other features, as well as DNA evidence, indicate that these Chocoan snakes actually belong to a new species. DNA data also suggest that its closest relative is a species that inhabits the Amazon on the other side of the Andes.

'One possible explanation for the disjunct distribution between the new species and its closest relative is that the uplift of the Andes fragmented an ancestral population into two, each of which evolved into a different species, one in the Chocó region and the other in the Amazon' said Dr Torres-Carvajal.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Pensoft Publishers. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Omar Torres-Carvajal, Mario Yanez, Diego Quirola, Eric N. Smith, Ana Almendáriz. A new species of blunt-headed vine snake (Colubridae, Imantodes) from the Chocó region of Ecuador. ZooKeys, 2012; 244 (0): 91 DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.244.3950

Cite This Page:

Pensoft Publishers. "A rather thin and long new snake crawls out of one of Earth's biodiversity hotspots." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127101536.htm>.
Pensoft Publishers. (2012, November 27). A rather thin and long new snake crawls out of one of Earth's biodiversity hotspots. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127101536.htm
Pensoft Publishers. "A rather thin and long new snake crawls out of one of Earth's biodiversity hotspots." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121127101536.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) — Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) — With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) — Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) — Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins