SAVANT FINDS NEW SPECIES OF MINI SNAKE IN KANSAS LAB
Scientists have discovered a new species of snake that had practically been hiding in plain sight all this while, right at the laboratory and without anyone noticing until Jeff Weinell became curious about the snakes that grow to a maximum length of only six inches.
In a CNN report, the media outlet said Jeff Weinell, a graduate research assistant at the University of Kansas' Biodiversity Institute, was studying three snakes rescued during field missions between 2006 and 2012.
All three snakes had been at the university since then. However, recently, when Weinell was studying them, he found that the snakes belonged to a species that was previously not known.
It turns out, the reptiles belong to a new snake genus called Levitonius and a new snake species called Levitonius mirus.
The findings of Weinell and other scientists were published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Copeia.
The snakes are also known as Waray dwarf burrowing snake. According to research, these snakes are inhabitants of the islands of Samar and Leyte in the Philippines.
The islands are home to over 100 species of snakes.
The snakes have a long and narrow skull, are highly iridescent, likely thrive on earthworms and have very few vertebrae.
The snakes have been described as a miniaturized genus.
Weinell said in his study that the Levitonius mirus reaches a maximum of 6.7 inches in length and is about the size of a pencil. The three specimens at the university are the only ones that have been found till date, Weinell told CNN.