Found a new species of snakes: scientists stumbled upon it by accident

The new snake species belongs to the genus Phalotris, which includes 15 semi-subterranean species distributed in

central part of South America. The group is known for its striking coloration with red, black and yellow patterns.

Jean-Paul Brouart, one of the researchers, accidentallystumbled upon a specimen while digging a hole at Laguna Blanca ranch in 2014. Together with colleagues Paul Smith and Pierre Cacciali, the scientist described the find in the scientific journal Zoosystematics and Evolution. The authors named it Phalotris shawnella.

Credit: Jean-Paul Brouart

The new Phalotris snake has an unusual color:it can be easily distinguished from other related species in the genus by its red head combined with a yellow collar, black lateral stripe, and orange ventral scales with irregular black spots.

The extreme rarity of this species prompted the authorsconsider it "endangered" according to the conservation categories of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The snake can only be found in the well-known tourist site of Laguna Blanca, an area declared an Important Area for the Conservation of Amphibians and Reptiles.

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