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New species of snakes discovered. One of them was named by actor Leonardo DiCaprio

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Scientists have discovered five new snake species found in Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. The honor of naming one of them fell to the actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who is known for his actions to protect the environment. In this way, ecologists wanted to draw attention to the problem of the destruction of rainforests inhabited by snakes. In their opinion, the reptile named by the Hollywood star already meets the criteria to be described as “near threatened”.

Biologists Alejandro Arteaga and Abel Batista began searching for new snakes after evidence emerged that the subfamily of snails (dipsadinae), living in the Americas, may constitute a separate species. They analyzed DNA from samples belonging to 19 individuals to see how they differed. This led them to discover new species.

The research was published in January in the journal ZooKeys. As one of the biologists said in an interview with the American service Business Insider, it took them a year and a half to collect the DNA samples, and the analysis itself took several days.

Sibon irmelindicaprioaeAlejandro Arteaga

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Sibon irmelindicaprioaeJosé Vieira

Sibon irmelindicaprioaeJosé Vieira

The snake whose name Leonardo DiCaprio chose

One of the five newly discovered snake species – red and orange in color with large orange eyes – has been named the DiCaprio snake. This species was named by the famous actor Leonardo DiCaprio himself in honor of his mother. The reptile has been given a scientific term Sibon irmelindicaprioae. Its second part is a combination of the name of the famous actor’s mother Irmelin Indenbirken and the surname DiCaprio.

A statement from the environmental organization Khamai explained that the star was chosen to name the snake in order to raise public awareness “about the destruction of the rainforest due to opencast mining.” The actor is known for his climate protection activities.

The danger to these snakes is posed by illegal mining of gold and copper in the forests where they live, it was reported. The authors of the study say the DiCaprio snake already meets the criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to be considered a “near threatened species”.

All of the snakes are species that cannot survive in deforested areas. They feed on snails, whose numbers are declining due to the pollution of streams and rivers due to mining activities.

“Musky and unpleasant smell”

DiCaprio’s snake is described as “gentle” and doesn’t bite when trying to defend itself against other animals. As stated in the study, “threatened individuals may cover their heads with their bodies and produce a musky and unpleasant odor.” In search of food, it climbs bushes and palm leaves at a height of up to three meters above the ground. It is 38 centimeters long. It lives in eastern Panama and western Colombia.

The other four species are Sibon canopy, Sibon marleyae, Sibon vieirai and Welborn dipsas.

Sibon vieiraiPearl Yee

Sibon canopyAlejandro Arteaga

Sibon marleyaeJosé Vieira

Welborn dipsasAlejandro Arteaga

businessinsider.com, livescience.com

Main photo source: Alejandro Arteaga



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