Philippine coral snake considered as new species
Acoral snake that can only be found in the Philippines is among the 229 new plant and animal species described by the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) this year.
The research institute and natural history museum based in San Francisco, California, said the description of the new species of plants and animals help in “enriching our understanding of Earth’s complex web of life and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions.”
In a statement, CAS said researchers were surprised to discover a mysterious three-foot coral snake in Dinagat Island 10 years ago.
The black-and-white banded, long-glanded coral snake is formally described this year as Calliophis salitan.
It has a bright-orange tail unlike its bluetailed relatives that inhabit the region.
The new species, which belongs to a group of venomous Asian coral snakes, is only found in the Philippines.
“The evolutionary origins of this new orange-tailed species remain a mystery,” said Dr. Alan Leviton, emeritus curator and Academy Fellow.
Leviton, along with a team that included academy research associate Dr. Rafe Brown of University of Kansas, said the Calliophis salitan “might be more widespread than we think, there might be close relatives we haven’t discovered yet, or it could be the sole surviving member of a lost lineage.”
“Or, maybe orange is just the new blue,” he added.
This year, CAS described new species that include 120 wasps, 34 sea slugs, 28 ants, 19 fish, seven flowering plants, seven spiders, four eels, three sharks, two water bears, one frog, one snake, one seahorse, one moss, and one liverwort plant.
More than a dozen academy scientists—along with several dozen international collaborators—described the new species discoveries.
Proving that our vast and dynamic planet still contains unexplored places with never-before-recorded plants and animals, the scientists made their finds over five continents and three oceans—venturing into river-carved canyons, diving to extreme ocean depths, and scouring misty forests.
The results help advance the CAS’mission to explore, explain, and sustain life on Earth.
“Biodiversity scientists estimate that less than 10 percent of species on Earth have been discovered,” Dr. Shannon Bennett, Academy Chief of Science, said.
LEADERSHIP FORUM – Vice President Leni Robredo arrives for a forum on mission and value-driven leadership at the Concordia College in Manila on Friday. In her speech, Robredo stressed the importance of true servant-leadership, empathy and the youth’s role in making a difference in society. (OVP photo)