January 10, 2012
New Snake Species Announced
Spectacularly colored Matilda´s horned viper is discovered by WCS and Museo delle Scienze of Trento, Italy
New snake is restricted to remote forest in southwest Tanzania
The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced the discovery of a spectacularly colored snake from a remote area of Tanzania in East Africa.
The striking black-and-yellow snake is called Matilda´s horned viper. It measures 2.1 feet (60 centimeters) and has horn-like scales above its eyes.
The discovery is described in the December issue of Zootaxa. Authors of the study include: Michele Menegon of Museo delle Scienze of Trento, Italy; Tim Davenport of the Wildlife Conservation Society; and Kim Howell of the University of Dar es Salaam.
The authors are keeping the exact location of the new species a secret, since the snake could be of interest to the illegal pet collectors. Its habitat, estimated at only a few square miles is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture. The authors expect the species will be classified as critically endangered and have already established a small captive breeding colony.
The snake is named after the daughter of co-author Tim Davenport, Director of WCS´s Tanzania Program.
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