886 American snake species, new research


This 2013 video says about itself:

Our encounter with the South American Aquatic Coral Snake, also known as “Micrurus Ssrinamensis” in the Madidi Jungle National Park, Amazon Basin, Bolivia.

Don’t always go with the red to yellow, kill a fellow / red to black friend of Jack rhyme. That is true only for snakes found in North America, in South America Coral Snakes can have different patterns.

The Coral native to this region can be identified by the pattern of a black triad surrounding two yellow bands with red separating each triad. Also the bands should go all around the body.

The Aquatic Coral Snake (Micrurus surinamensis) is found throughout the Amazon including the Guianas, Brazil, Bolivia, Suriname. It is also called the coral “venenosa” in Bolivia, and the “boichumbeguacu” in Brazil. This species is one of the most famous South American coral snakes, and one of the biggest too (80 to 100 cm).

The Surinamensis is a very good swimmer, and spends most of its life in slow-moving bodies of water that have dense vegetation.

Coral Snakes are usually red with black bands bordered by white (or yellow) at intervals, yet not all Coral Snakes are tricolor. The eyes of the venomous tricolor Corals are very small, in contrast with the larger eyes of the nonpoisonous tricolor false corals. Coral snakes are generally not very aggressive snakes, but it would, however, be very dangerous to step on one inadvertently, especially with bare feet.

The venom of all coral snakes is strongly neurotoxic, it affects the nervous system and can cause respiratory paralysis and suffocation. These venoms are among the most potent found in snakes, yet the venom yield per animal is less than that of most vipers or pit vipers. In Mexico Coral Snakes are known as the “20-minute snakes,” for the victim is supposed to be dead 20 minutes after being bitten by one. Corals being burrowing snakes though, few accidents are actually caused by them.

From the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Germany:

150 years of snake collections: Data bank proves rich snake diversity in the neotropics

November 24, 2017

An international team made up of scientists from Brazil, Australia, USA, Ecuador, Germany and Sweden has published the results of an extensive database constructed for snakes of the American tropics. This database is made up of museum collections from the past 150 years and demonstrates that some Neotropical regions, such as the Cerrado in central Brazil, contain a disproportionately high diversity. Furthermore, some other diverse regions are disproportionally under sampled, such as the Amazon. For the first time all factors, such as distribution patterns, collection records and frequency of occurrence are recorded from a total of 147,515 contributions to 886 snake species. Thus, the database covers 74 per cent of all snake species from 27 countries. The database, which has been so far unique in this form, will serve as a solid basis for conservation concepts, to biodiversity and evolution models in the future, as well as to design research agendas. The study was recently published in the journal “Global Ecology and Biogeography”.

About 10,500 species of reptiles (animals such as lizards and snakes) are found around the world and about 150 to 200 new species are also discovered every year. Snakes make up about 34 percent of this group of animals. “We assume that there are still many snake species that we still do not know. However, the identification of areas poorly-sampled, where probably new species can be found, must come from data and mapping of the known species” explains leading author Dr. Thaís Guedes from the University of Gothenburg and adds: “We realize that the very rich Amazonian area is, for example, one of the least explored areas.

Most of the area is of high inaccessibility, the low investments in local research sum to relative shortage of experts to explore this huge area explain this result. Besides that, the centers of research, as scientific collections, are limited to the geographic area of major cities and universities.”

The international group of scientists have collected data about snake collections of the Neotropics — South and Central America, the West Indies and the southern part of Mexico and Florida — to record the diversity of snake species, their distribution, as well as their threats. The result is a unique database with 147,515 entries for 886 snake species from 12 families. Senior author of the study Alexandre Antonelli from the University of Gothenburg is pleased: “We have published one of the largest and most detailed surveys on the distribution of snakes — one of the most species-rich reptile groups in the world! What an achievement!”

The huge dataset is the result of a merger of a public database, which was examined by experts in the course of this study and the collection data of various international taxonomists.

Another of the study’s authors, Dr. Martin Jansen from the Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, says: “The review by taxonomic experts has greatly enhanced the data. One could say that the data bank now has a kind of quality mark, something like ‘taxonomically verified’. This is very important, as biodiversity models often lack this in-deepth taxonomic expertise.”

The results from this most comprehensive and novel database also highlight the necessity to better sample, explore, and protect areas of high diversity, as well as rare species. “Our database provides the ideal basis, and it can now be used by other scientists (without taxonomic expertise) as a solid basis for subsequent models, for example, on evolutionary patterns or climate change effects”, explains Guedes.

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Green tree python and her red babies


This 28 September 2017 video is called Wonderful: Green Tree Python Giving Birth To Red Baby | Reproduction In Reptiles.

Green tree pythons live in south-east Asia and Australia.

Rattlesnake slow motion video


This 8 September 2017 video is called Rattlesnake Tail In Slow Motion – BBC Earth.

King cobras in love, video


This video says about itself:

Watch Two King Cobras Romance Each Other

11 August 2017

King cobra mating techniques aren’t subtle. To indicate his interest, the male will engage in frequent headbutting with the female, while she dances provocatively around him.

New grass snake species discovery in Europe


This 2016 video is called Natrix natrix helvetica hunting frogs 1. Natrix helvetica was then still considered a subspecies of the common grass snake.

From the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum in Germany:

A new snake in Europe: The Barred Grass Snake is described as a separate species

August 7, 2017

Together with an international team, Senckenberg scientists identified a new species of snake in Europe. Based on more than 1,600 snakes, the researchers were able to show that the “Barred Grass Snake,” whose range includes Western Germany, France, Great Britain, Switzerland and Italy constitutes a distinct species. In their study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, the team examined two contact zones — in the Rhine region and in eastern Germany — where different genetic lineages of grass snakes meet.

The grass snake is among the most common and widespread snakes in Europe — yet relatively little is known to date about the genetic identity of these non-toxic reptiles, which can reach a length of up to one meter.

“We studied two areas where different genetic lineages of the grass snake come into contact. We discovered that the Barred Grass Snake, previously considered a subspecies, is in fact a distinct species (Natrix helvetica). The Barred Grass Snake is widely distributed throughout Great Britain, Switzerland, Italy and France, and also occurs in the western part of Germany. Thus, the number of European snake species has increased by one,” according to Professor Uwe Fritz, Director of the Senckenberg Natural History Collections in Dresden.

In the course of an international study led by Fritz, the professor’s doctoral student, Carolin Kindler, examined the genetic identity of more than 1,600 grass snakes — many of them scientific museum specimens. “This showed once again how valuable these — in part very old — collections can be,” explains Fritz, and he continues, “Modern methods such as genetics make it possible to gain entirely new insights from the collection specimens.”

Two “contact zones” of grass snakes were examined more closely by the scientists from Dresden: One of the zones is located in the Rhine region, the other extends from Central Germany down to the southern Balkans. In these zones, different genetic lineages of the grass snake meet, which in part had previously been thought to represent different subspecies. Such contact zones are viewed as natural laboratories for evolution, since they allow the study of hybridization and speciation.

The two contact zones examined in this study represent different stages in the speciation process: The eastern contact zone reveals a complete mixing of the involved genetic lineages over hundreds of kilometers. In the Rhine region, on the other hand, the hybrid zone is less than 50 km wide, and the admixture is very limited and unidirectional, primarily with Barred Grass Snakes cross-breeding with Eastern Grass Snakes, but rarely the other way around. “This indicates the presence of reproductive barriers,” explains Fritz. They arise during the speciation process to prevent mismatched pairings among different species. These reproductive barriers and the narrow hybrid zone show that the Barred Grass Snake constitutes a distinct species.

This conclusion is not without consequences. Grass snakes are under special protection in Europe and are considered threatened or highly threatened in some countries. “We now have to pay close attention to which species of grass snake is involved in each case, in order to be able to assess whether one of them may be more threatened than previously thought,” Fritz points out.