Cemetery in Ecuador reveals 3 new species of snakes

2022-11-13 2022-11-13T09:41:21Z
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Weather of Arabia - National Geographic Arabic - A research team accidentally discovers three new species of snakes in southern Ecuador, species that spend most of their lives underground.

In November 2021, Alejandro Artega and his research team traveled to the misty forests of southern Ecuador on a scientific mission to search for a toad believed to be extinct. Unfortunately, the team failed to find the desired Toad, but fate put in their way a different discovery that allayed the disappointment.

On their way home, hungry and frustrated, they stop in the town of Amaloosa in search of a meal to stave off their hunger. “There are no fast food restaurants here, so you have to knock on doors, if you find people they will greet you and cook for you and tell you stories,” says Artega, a biologist with the Jamai Foundation, which works to conserve biodiversity in Ecuador. The team sat and chatted while a local woman cooked trout for them. When she heard them talk about amphibians and snakes, she decided to tell them about her encounter with local snakes in the town cemetery while visiting the grave of a relative. Based on the description, Artega suspected that it was a type of terrestrial snake belonging to the genus Atractus, shy snakes that spend most of their time underground, and their presence in this area has not been previously documented scientifically.

Ecuador has one of the highest rates of venomous snakebites in the world, with between 1,400 and 1,600 people being bitten annually.

Refreshed by this news, the team headed to the cemetery, where they did find a yellow-bellied snake buried in the soft sand; Artega states here that no graves were exhumed or the dead were disturbed during the search. The team decided to spend a longer period in the area studying these snakes and collecting samples, and eventually were able to document three new species of terrestrial snakes. Scientists have proposed naming the first of them as "Atractus discovery", which is characterized by small eyes and a yellow belly with a black stripe, the second is "Atractus zgap" with a yellow belly without a black stripe, and the third is "Atractus michaelsabini" after the ecologist "Michael Sabini" whose family contributed to the protection of About 2,500 square kilometers are the habitat of threatened species of amphibians and reptiles.

If this is the first time you have heard of terrestrial snakes, you are not alone; This is because this type of snake is the least studied in the world, according to Artega. There are 146 recorded species of terrestrial snakes, most of which live in deep rock crevices and forests in South and Central America, but this discovery indicated that they may also be found in human-made habitats such as cemeteries of small villages and churches, Artega says, "the secret of their attraction to these places may be that they are calm and free from People who kill her often though she is so meek and peaceful.”

Research on terrestrial snakes is still in its infancy, but Artega hopes it will yield significant benefits to human health. Terrestrial snakes may not be brightly colored, and may not seem as useful for medical research as venomous snakes, but one of their main predators is the "poisonous coral snake." So scientists believe that terrestrial snakes may have developed a defense mechanism against coral snake venom. By analyzing the snake's blood, we may be able to elicit an antidote for coral snake bites. Ecuador has one of the highest rates of venomous snakebites in the world, with between 1,400 and 1,600 people being bitten annually. This creature buried among the tombstones may be keeping humans away from the graves.

Source: National Geographic Arabic

This article was written originally in Arabic and is translated using a 3rd party automated service. ArabiaWeather is not responsible for any grammatical errors whatsoever.
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