A new species of snake discovered in Madagascar by a team of researchers has been named “ghost snake” for its pale grey colour and elusiveness.
The snake is part of a common group of snakes called Madagascarophis, or cat-eyed snakes, named for the vertical pupils often found among them.
The team studied the snake’s physical characteristics that includes counting all of the scales on its belly, its back, including how many scales touch the eye and the number of scales on the upper and lower lips.
“None of the other snakes in Madagascarophis are as pale or have this distinct pattern,”
They also extracted DNA from tissue samples of the ghost snake and the previously found Madagascarophis fuchsi, also found in Madagascar, several years ago.
They compared three genetic markers shared across the species of Madagascarophis to determine how similar the new snake was to those previously known ones.