New Snail-eating Snake Of The Pareas Genus Discovered In ChinaPareas guanyinshanensis. Photo by Shuo Liu, et.al

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New Snail-eating Snake Of The Pareas Genus Discovered In China

There are 28 known species in the Pareas genus, including the newly described Pareas guanyinshanensis.

The snakes in the study were found ion the Guanyinshan Provincial Nature Reserve in Yuanyang County, Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China.

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Researchers have discovered and described a new snake species of the Pareas genus that is a slug and snail-eating specialist. The snake, the Guanyinshan slug-eating snake (Pareas guanyinshanensis), has a yellowish red/yellowish brown head color and with an yellowish body and black stripes on each side of the body, irregular stripes on the tail, and a pinkish yellow coloration on the bottom of the head with black spots. The female holotype collected (of three snakes collected in total) for the study measured 488mm snout to vent length.

The snakes in the study were found in the Guanyinshan Provincial Nature Reserve in Yuanyang County, Honghe Prefecture, Yunnan Province, China. The three specimens were found at night on small branches or on the forest floor near a stream. Farmland and forests were near the location where the snakes were found.

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Snakes of the Pareidae family are found throughout much of Southeast Asia and comprise 42 species. Those in the Pareas genus are known to be snail and slug eating specialists, with jaw and teeth formations that help them subdue and consume these gastropods. For example, Pareas iwasakii has 17 teeth in its left mandible and 25 in its right, which aids them in extracting the soft bodies of snails from their shells. There are 28 known species in the Pareas genus, including the newly described Pareas guanyinshanensis.

Pareas guanyinshanensis

Pareas guanyinshanensis sp. nov. in life. (A) The holotype (KIZ 2023038); (B) the paratype (KIZ 2023040). Photo by Shuo Liu, et.al.

The research paper describing the new species, “Description of a New Species of the Pareas hamptoni Complex from Yunnan, China, with Confirmation of P. hamptoni Sensu Stricto in China (Squamata, Pareidae)” can be read on the MDPI website.

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