Image of the Day: Snacking on Snails

Five newly identified species of snakes suck the mollusks right out of their shells.  

Jun 20, 2018
Sukanya Charuchandra

The snake, Sibon bevridgelyi, found in the rainforests of Ecuador is considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. JORGE CASTILLO/TROPICAL HERPINGFive new species of snakes that like to dine on snails have been described in research published on June 14. Scientists discovered these snakes in the forests of Ecuador and Peru on expeditions between 2013 and 2017. With specialized jaws, these tree-dwelling snakes rapidly suck snails’ bodies straight from their shells.

Despite being recently uncovered, “four of the five species we discovered are already facing the possibility of becoming extinct, as the forests remaining for them to survive are almost completely destroyed.” study coauthor Alejandro Arteaga, a doctoral student at the American Museum of Nature History, says in a statement.

A. Arteaga et al., “Systematics of South American snail-eating snakes (Serpentes, Dipsadini), with the description of five new species from Ecuador and Peru,” ZooKeys, doi:10.3897/zookeys.766.24523, 2018.