Placing new snake species found in Paraguay

Phalotris shawnella. Credit score: Jean-Paul Brouard

A good looking non-venomous snake, beforehand unknown to science, was found in Paraguay and described by researchers of the Paraguayan NGO Para La Tierra with the collaboration of Guyra Paraguay and the Instituto de Investigación Biológica del Paraguay. It belongs to the genus Phalotris, which options 15 semi-subterranean species distributed in central South America. This group of snakes is famous for its hanging coloration with crimson, black, and yellow patterns.

Jean-Paul Brouard, one of many concerned researchers, got here throughout a person of the brand new species by likelihood whereas digging a gap at Rancho Laguna Blanca in 2014. Collectively together with his colleagues Paul Smith and Pier Cacciali, he described the invention within the open-access scientific journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. The authors named it Phalotris shawnella, in honor of two youngsters—Shawn Ariel Smith Fernández and Ella Bethany Atkinson—who have been born in the identical 12 months because the Fundación Para La Tierra (2008). They impressed the founders of the NGO to work for the conservation of Paraguayan wildlife, within the hope that their youngsters can inherit a greater world.

The brand new Phalotris snake is especially engaging and will be distinguished from different associated species in its genus by its crimson head together with a yellow collar, a black lateral band and orange ventral scales with irregular black spots. Solely identified from three people, it’s endemic to the Cerrado forests of the division of San Pedro in east Paraguay. Its identified distribution consists of two spots with sandy soils in that division—Colonia Volendam and Laguna Blanca—that are 90 km aside. 

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The intense rarity of this species led the authors to think about it as “Endangered”, in line with the conservation classes of the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which implies it’s in imminent hazard of extinction within the absence of measures for its safety.

This species can solely be discovered within the well-known vacationer vacation spot of Laguna Blanca, an space declared as an Essential Space for the Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles. 

“This demonstrates as soon as once more the necessity to defend the pure surroundings on this area of Paraguay,” the authors remark. “Laguna Blanca was designated as a Nature Reserve for a interval of 5 years, however at the moment has no safety in any respect. The preservation of this web site must be thought of a nationwide precedence for conservation.”


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Extra data:
Paul Smith et al, A brand new species of Phalotris (Serpentes, Colubridae, Elapomorphini) from Paraguay, Zoosystematics and Evolution (2022). DOI: 10.3897/zse.98.61064

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