Wednesday, September 19, 2012

[Herpetology • 2012] “no a la mina!” Snail-eating Snake | Sibon noalamina • A new species of Sibon (Colubroidea: Dipsadidae) from the Cordillera Central of western Panama

Sibon noalamina 
Lotzkat, Hertz & Kohler 2012


We describe Sibon noalamina sp. nov. from the Caribbean versant of the Cordillera Central, in the Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé and the province of Veraguas of western Panama. Due to its coral snake-like, bicolored pattern, the new species superficially resembles Sibon anthracops, Dipsas articulata, D. bicolor, D. temporalis, and D. viguieri. It differs from these species, and from all its congeners, by having only five supralabials, by the unique shape of the posterior supralabial, and by a slight keeling on some dorsal rows in adults. We discuss its conservation perspectives, and provide new distributional records for S. annulatus and S. longifrenis, as well as an updated key to the Lower Central American species of Sibon.

Key words: snail-eater, Dipsas, Chiriquí, Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas, conservation, distribution extension, morphology

Male Sibon noalamina
Photo © Sebastian Lotzkat

New snail-eating snake from Panama: Sibon noalamina. Non-venomous snail-eating snakes sport bright colors to mimic poisonous snakes as a defense. 
Photo © Sebastian Lotzkat

Geographic distribution.  Sibon noalamina is hitherto only known from the highlands of western Panama (Fig. 4). The two known localities lie some 125 airline km apart, roughly at either end of the easternmost uninterrupted portion of the Cordillera Central, known as Serranía de Tabasará, which is approximately delimited to the west by the Fortuna depression and has its eastern limit in the region around Santa Fé. This indicates, as a minimum, a continuous distribution of the new taxon along the Caribbean versant of the Serranía de Tabasará, at premontane elevations between 1050 and 1260 m, most of it located in the Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé.

Juvenile Sibon noalamina
Photo © Sebastian Lotzkat

Etymology. The specific epithet is a contraction of the exclamation “no a la mina!”, Spanish for “no to the mine”, in the sense of “no mining”. This affirmation was and is used by members of the indigenous Ngöbe communities living in the Serranía de Tabasará in the course of their protests against mining interests aiming to exploit their territory, especially around Cerro Colorado. The specific name is given in recognition and support of the Ngöbe’s struggle to protect their territory and environment, which is home to the new species described herein and many others, from profit-driven destructive interventions.

Sebastian Lotzkat, Andreas Hertz, Gunther Kohler. 2012. A new species of Sibon (Squamata: Colubroidea: Dipsadidae) from the Cordillera Central of western Panama, with comments on other species of the genus in he area. Zootaxa. 3485: 26–40.

Scientists name new snake species to criticize mine plans in Panama (photos) 

1 comment:

  1. I think I saw one today or perhaps even a new species.