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article imageScientist rediscovers lost snake species in Mexico

By William Suphan     May 20, 2014 in Science
The Clarion Nightsnake, which has been lost to science for the last 80 years, has been rediscovered in a recent expedition.
Daniel Mulcahy, a scientist from Washington DC's Smithsonian Institution, was taking part in an expedition on the Mexican island of Clarion when he identified a species of snake that has not been seen since its initial discovery in 1936 by William Beebe.
The Clarion Nightsnake was never officially considered extinct, however it has eluded scientists for the last 80 years. With the help of a local expert, Mulcahy found 11 snakes that were verified to be genetically distinct through DNA tests. The snake solely exists on Clarion Island.
"The rediscovery of the Clarion Nightsnake is an incredible story of how scientists rely on historical data and museum collections to solve modern-day mysteries about biodiversity in the world we live in," said Mulcahy. "Proper identification is the first step toward conserving this snake, and we plan to continue monitoring this species to learn more about the role it plays in the delicate Clarion Island ecosystem."
The Clarion Nightsnake is now finally considered a full species.
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