Sunday, 23 September 2012

Brightly coloured snake from Panama new to science

Newly discovered snake named "no to mining"
September 2012. Scientists from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt have discovered a new snake species in the highlands of western Panama. The scientific name of the brightly coloured reptile, Sibon noalamina, means "no to the mine." It was chosen to call attention to the fact that the habitat of this harmless snail-eating snake is severely threatened by human activities. The researchers are concerned that other species of amphibians and reptiles, which were discovered in the region during the last years, share the same fate. 

The snake, Sibon noalamina, is completely harmless to humans. The light and dark-ringed reptile at first sight resembles a well-known and widespread species of snail-eater snake. However, closer examination revealed the non-venomous snake to represent a hitherto unknown species.
The three individuals that we caught during several expeditions between 2008 and 2010 in the montane rainforests of western Panama differ markedly from all known species of snakes, especially in scale characteristics," says Sebastian Lotzkat, research associate of the Herpetology Department at Senckenberg Research Institute Frankfurt. "Therefore the newly described the species - it now bears the name Sibon noalamina."

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