New Species Of Snail-Eating Snake Discovered In Panama

A new species of snail-eating snake has been discovered in western Panama by biologists from Frankfurt, Germany's Senckenberg Research Institute. The non-venomous snake, Sibon noalamina has coloration similar to a coral snake with brown and light colored ringed scales. It was recently described in a paper published in the journal Zootaxa. The name of the snake is Spanish and translates to "no mining." The biologists named the snake noalamina to call attention to the mining of ore that occurs near the reptile's native habitat.

Sibon noalamina

Sebastian Lotzkat

Sibon noalamina is a nocturnal, snail- eating snake from Panama

According to the paper, in addition to snails, the snake also eats other soft-bodied prey, including slugs, earthworms and amphibian eggs. The snake's range includes the Serranía de Tabasará of the Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé reservation, an autonomous region that was established in 1997. The snake genus, Sibon comprises 15 species, all of which are nocturnal snail eaters and look similar in coloration to coral snakes or arboreal pit vipers.

Sibon noalamina grows to approximately 21 inches. The specimens that the biologists encountered were found at night in wet forested areas. One was found lying upon a large leaf about 0.5 meters above the ground approximately 10 meters from a small stream. A second specimen was located near the stream moving about 2 meters above the forest floor.

The complete paper describing Sibon noalamina can be found here.

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