AUG 10, 2016 01:50 PM PDT

A Misidentified Snake Turned Out to Be a Whole New Species

International scientists have identified a new species of snake in Costa Rica that appears to have flown under the radar for over a century, being misidentified because of characteristics that make it look similar to another species of snake.
 

The Talamancan Palm-Pitviper has long been misidentified as a Black-Speckled Palm-Pitviper.

 Image Credit: University of Central Florida

The findings, which have been published in the journal Zootaxa, reveal that the new species of snake, the Talamancan Palm-Pitviper, has been misidentified as a Black-Speckled Palm-Pitviper since both snakes are similar-looking with nearly identical color sequences.
 
Despite the fact that they’re similar-looking, the scientists note that there are major genetic differences between the two species that are enough to set them apart. Interestingly, had it not been for natural history museums, the researchers say there may not have been a way to set them apart as they have.
 
"It's a really interesting phenomenon," said University of Central Florida biologist Christopher Parkinson, the lead of the study.
 
"It shows some of the complexities we deal with when cataloging biodiversity and underscores the importance of maintaining natural-history collections. Discovering this species would not have been possible without the specimens housed in natural-history museums."
 
Interestingly enough, the venom from the Black-Speckled Palm-Pitviper contains a toxin that has never been seen in the venom of a non-rattlesnake species before, but the venom of the newly-discovered Talamancan Palm-Pitviper has yet to be studied.
 
The long-standing misidentification means that anyone who gets bit by one of the snakes could actually get the incorrect treatment because they could have completely different venom characteristics.
 
Moreover, the discovery shows that there are still many species out there that have yet to be discovered, and many of them are hiding in plain sight, simply misidentified because they look so similarly to others.
 
The study notes that the constant development of virgin land continues to destroy animal habitats, and when this happens before scientists get the chance to study the life forms that live there, things like this can happen more frequently.
 
Source: Phys.org

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
JUL 18, 2018
Plants & Animals
JUL 18, 2018
The Secret Behind Deep-Diving Dolphins May Reside in Their Blood
When researchers noticed common bottlenose dolphins in Bermuda diving up to 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface, they quickly started to wonder wh...
JUL 19, 2018
Videos
JUL 19, 2018
The Transition to Multicellular Life May Have Been Simple
It may have been relatively easy for complex organisms to form from one-celled microbes, researchers suggest....
AUG 05, 2018
Videos
AUG 05, 2018
Watch a Bird Take Flight in Super-Slow Motion
Many of us watch birds take off into flight right before our eyes every day, but it happens so quickly that we don’t get a chance to observe the mech...
AUG 27, 2018
Videos
AUG 27, 2018
Bizarre Diets of Some Animals
Some animals have bizarre diets that are not usually thought of. For example, some species of crocodiles eat a huge range of fruit, nuts, seeds and other p...
SEP 10, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 10, 2018
Does the Weather Impact Your Likelihood of Being Bitten by a Rattlesnake?
Venomous snakes, especially rattlesnakes, sport a somewhat salty reputation for biting humans when threatened in their natural habitat. Another frequently-...
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Can This Exotic Fruit Prevent Obesity?
Not a week goes by that there isn’t a new superfood or some exotic fruit or spice that can curb your appetite, burn fat while you sleep, and boost en...
Loading Comments...