“One possible explanation for the disjunct distribution between the new species and its closest relative is that the uplift of the Andes fragmented an ancestral population into two, each of which evolved into a different species, one in the Chocó region and the other in the Amazon,” Omar Torres-Carvajal from Museo de Zoología QCAZ, who led the study, said in a statement.
Snakes collected as far back as 1994, and deposited in several Ecuadorian and American natural history museums were examined for the study to help determine whether this was a newly discovered species.
The head of the chocoensis is about the size of a penny, and the species slightly exceeds a meter in total length. The Chocoan forests are part of the Tumbes-Chocó-Magdalena hotspot that lies west of the Andes. The full article is available on-line.
Omar Torres-Carvajal, Mario H. Yánez-Muñoz, Diego Quirol, Eric N. Smith, & Ana Almendáriz. 2012. A new species of blunt-headed vine snake (Colubridae, Imantodes) from the Chocó region of Ecuador. ZooKeys 244: 91–110, doi: 10.3897/zookeys.244.3950