Clarion Nightsnake Rediscovered In Mexico
Ellisha Rader Mannering
A species of snake that has not been seen in 80 years was recently rediscovered in Mexico. The Clarion nightsnake was found again on one of the Revillagigedo Islands, which are located over 400 miles off Mexico’s Pacific coast.
The snake species was first discovered in 1936 by American naturalist William Beebe. He was able to capture a snake and preserve it in a jar which he brought back from the islands. There had been many attempts to find more of the Clarion snakes in the past, but none were ever discovered.
The sample that was brought back from the island by Beebes was considered to be mislabeled and eventually forgotten about.
Recently, Daniel Mulcahy, a researcher for the National Museum of Natural History in Washington decided to go to the islands to search for the snake species one more time. He teamed up with Juan Martinez Gomez of Mexico’s Ecology Institute and the two went to the islands in May of 2013.
When the research team found what they thought was one of the elusive snakes, they performed DNA analysis to determine if the snake was indeed the right species or a different species of snake. The results showed that the team had indeed found a Clarion nightsnake.
The tests showed it is most closely related to snakes from Mexico’s Sonora-Sinaloa coast more than 500 miles away from the islands where the snakes live. Martinez Gomez said the snake’s ancestors may have made the trip from the mainland on a tree trunk that was broken by a storm and washed out to sea.
The rediscovery of the species has given many scientists hope that there may be other animal species that were once thought to be extinct or are yet to be discovered, living in other parts of the world.
How do you think the snake species could have gotten on the island?
Image via Wikimedia Commons