New Snake Species Discovered in Ecuadorian Graveyards


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Alejandro Arteaga is a scientist dedicated to Khamai, Foundation supporting biodiversity in Ecuador. Artega and his team were on a mission to find endangered toads, they stumbled upon not one but three new species of ground snake in graveyards, proving that you never know what you might find in a graveyard, What’s incredible is that new species are still being discovered on the planet.

The scientists propose naming the new species A. discovery; which has especially small eyes and a yellow belly with a black line; A. zgap, which has a yellow belly with no line, and A. michaelsabini, which is “the chubbiest” of the three and named for Michael Sabin, a young naturalist whose family has protected over 264,365 acres of critical habitat with a focus on amphibians and reptiles. Ground snakes are amongst the least studied of snakes, as they are secretive, spending most of their time underground.

Though ground snakes are still little known, they could have a big impact on human health. The primary predator of ground snakes are venomous coral snakes. Scientists suspect that some ground snakes may have evolved have some sort of biological resistance to coral snake venom. Studying the blood of ground snakes, then, could lead to breakthroughs in developing antivenoms that can help people bit by coral snakes.

The tiny snakes that were discovered are a danger to earthworms and other insects but completely harmless to humans.