A strange silver glint flickering through a tree caught the eye of biologists while on an expedition in the Bahamas. It afterwards turned out they haddiscovered a very rare new species of snake: the silver boa( Chilabothrus argentum ). Thefindings from theexpeditionwere published in the May edition of the journal Breviora.
During two expeditions, the researchers counted 20 silver boas on the remoteConception Island in The Bahamas. One of these meter-long( 3 feet) snakes was detected on their first expedition when it slithered acrosslead researcher Graham Reynolds headas he slept on the beach in the middle of the night.Sometime around 3:30 in the morning, I woke up to something crawling across my face, Reynolds told National Geographic.
The biologists fromHarvard University conducted genetic analysis on samples of the snakes’tissue, which confirmedthat this was indeed a new species inducing it the first new species of boa to be discovered in the Caribbean since the 1940 s.
As wellits own colour, the serpent got its name from beingfirst discovered on a silver palm tree.R. Graham Reynolds/ University of North Carolina Asheville
Worldwide, new species of frogs and lizards are being detected and described with some regularity. New species of serpents, however, are much rarer. Robert Henderson, curator at Milwaukee Museum of Natural history and a world expert on boas, said in a statement on the University of North Carolina Asheville website.
Understandably , not much is known about the snake yet. However, the biologists did notice its diet mainly consists of birds. As with other species of the boa( Boidae) family, itkills itsprey through comprehending them with itsteeth and then constricting them until they die of asphyxiation.
The recently discovered snake have so far proclaimed critically endangered and one of the rarest boa species in the world. Fortunately for the snakes, they are more or lessfree from human-made threats to their habitat and poaching. But instead, the species is threatened from predation by feral cats on the island.
We observed this species on its route to extinction, and now we have the opportunity to intervene on their behalf so that doesnt happen, Reynolds, who is now attheUniversity of North Carolina Asheville, added.
The researchers are collaborating with local authorities to put in place conservation measures. Additionally, all of the individuals caught were measured and electronically tagged to assistance further research and easily identify them in future. National Geographicreports that researchers believe removing the feral cats, which are not native to the island, is likely to be the only way to secure the future for this beautiful silverbeast.
A silver boa munching down on a bird.R. Graham Reynolds/ University of North Carolina Asheville