Friday 18 December 2015

Synophis zaheri: A new species of Fishing Snake from Ecuador.

Fishing Snakes, Synophis, are small Colubrid Snakes from the cloud forests of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. They get their name from the habit of some species of consuming Fish, but they are secretive forest animals and the diet of most species is unknown, and likely to include more small terrestrial vertebrates, such as Lizards and Frogs, than it does Fish.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 1 December 2015, Alexander Pyron of the Department of Biological Sciences at George Washington University, Juan Guayasamin and Nicolás Peñafiel of the Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio Climático at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica, and Lucas Bustamante and Alejandro Arteaga of the Centro de Investigación en Biodiversidad y Cambio Climático at the Universidad Tecnológica Indoamérica and Tropical Herping describe a new species of Fishing Snake from El Oro Province in southwest Ecaudor, as part of a wider review of the taxonomy of Colubrid Snakes of the Nothopsini group (which they suggest is not a true taxonomic grouping) in Ecuador.

The new species is named Synophis zaheri, in honour of Brazilian herpetologist Hussam El-Dine Zaher. The species is named from two male specimens found in a strip of cloud forest on the Pacific side of the Andes close to the Buenaventura Reserve. Both were slightly under 600 mm in length, with large heads and bulbous black eyes. The Snakes are greyish brown in colour with an iridescent sheen and bright yellowish white undersides. The diet of the snakes is unknown, but neither was found close to water.

Synophis zaheri in life. Pyron et al. (2015).

See also... new species of Blunt-headed Vine Snake from the Chocó region of northwest Ecuador. Blunt-headed Vine Snakes (Imantodes) are medium sized (roughly meter length) Colubrid Snakes found from Mexico to Argentina. They are... species of Snail-eating Snake from western Panama.                                         Snail-eating Snakes of the genus Sibon are small, slender snakes native to Central America. They are nocturnal and often have banded...
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