January 9, 2012
A 7-year-old girl in Tanzania is now the proud namesake of a new snake.
Tim Davenport, Director of WCS’s Tanzania Program, named the recently discovered and spectacularly colored viper from a remote area of the East African country for his little girl. The striking black-and-yellow snake is called Matilda’s horned viper. It measures 2.1 feet and has horn-like scales above its eyes.
The discovery is described in the December issue of Zootaxa. Authors of the study include Michele Menegon of Museo delle Scienze of Trento, Italy; WCS’s Tim Davenport; and Kim Howell of the University of Dar es Salaam.
The authors are keeping the exact location of the new species a secret, since the snake could be of interest to illegal pet collectors. Its habitat, estimated at only a few square miles, is already severely degraded from logging and charcoal manufacture. The authors expect the species will be classified as critically endangered and have already established a small captive breeding colony.
For more information about the snake, go to http://www.atherismatildae.org/.