A group of scientists aboard a ship “with advanced robotic technologies” has discovered in the Ashmore reef (Australia) a species of snake that has been missing since 1998: the short-nosed sea snake (Aipysurus apreafrontalis).
Sea snake researcher Blanche D’Anastasi from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) has explained that The discovery came about because the robot stared at a dead shell 67 meters deep and when scientists were trying to pick it up, they discovered that the snake was on top of it.
“After zooming in on the snake, we realized that it was the species that had inhabited the reef for dozens of years but had been considered extinct.”Added D’Anastasi.
A colony of snakes 320 kilometers from the coast
The Ashmore Reef, according to specialist scientists, It was one of the places where you could find the most sea snakes on Earth. However, since the beginning of the century, there were species that began to disappear.
“Until 1970 the number of snakes was immense. You could find 50 specimens walking. In 2002, only 20 were seen. In 2010, 10 and in 2012 there were hardly any snakes left and 17 species were considered extinct “, D’Anastasi has stated.
The short-nosed sea snake is the third of 17 species reported missing to be rediscovered thanks to the missions that are being carried out thanks to the research project carried out on board the ship Falkor.
“This discovery shows that there is still much to learn about this area and, thanks to these findings, we remain hopeful that new species may appear”, has concluded the researcher of the Museum of Western Australia, Nerida Wilson.
A very poisonous species
The short-nosed sea snake is a very poisonous species of the family Elapidae. The members of this lineage usually have short but hollow fangs that make them very dangerous for the rest of the animals that live in the same habitat. In fact, the common death viper, one of the most poisonous snakes in the world, is from the same family.