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Ghost snake species discovered in Madagascar

The researchers from the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Natural Science, the American Museum of Natural History in the US and the Universite de Mahajunga in Madagascar studied the snake’s physical characteristics and genetics.

Sep 6, 2016 15:21 IST
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A team of scientists have discovered a new Ghost Snake Species of elusive, pale grey reptiles dwelling at the Ankarana National Park in Madagascar. The findings were published in the journal Copeia on 1 September 2016.

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The researchers from the Louisiana State University (LSU) Museum of Natural Science, the American Museum of Natural History in the US and the Universite de Mahajunga in Madagascar studied the snake’s physical characteristics and genetics, which verified that it is a new species.

This new Ghost Snake species was named Madagascarophis lolo, which means ghost in Malagasy.

Ghost Snakes

• The ghost snake is part of a common group of snakes called Madagascarophis or cat-eyed snakes.
• They are named for their vertical pupils, which is often found among snakes that are active in the evening or night.
• Many of the cat-eyed snakes are found in developed areas or degraded forests. However, the researchers found the ghost snake on pale grey limestone rocks.
• The ghost snake’s next closest relative is a snake called Madagascarophis fuchsi, which was discovered at a site about 100 kilometres north of Ankarana years ago.

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