New genus of snake recognised on Sri Lanka23/03/2013 23:35:12 Sri Lanka is a much bigger hotspot for biodiversity than previously known
March 2013. An assistant biology professor from George Washington University has discovered a new genus of the blindsnake in Sri Lanka.
Using DNA sequencing to determine its relationship to other snakes, Dr. Pyron thought the blindsnake -found right in the yard of an environmental agency office-would be a new species. Amazingly it turned out to be a complete new genus.
"When we sequenced the snake's DNA, we discovered that it was an entirely new lineage of blindsnake," Dr. Pyron said. "It's still a blindsnake, but a new genus, a group of blindsnakes that had never been described."
60 known species of snakes in Sri Lanka
"We found that Sri Lanka has been colonized by snakes at least five times by totally different snake groups, which have each diversified heavily within the island," said Dr. Pyron, a Robert F. Griggs Assistant Professor of Biology.
That means that even though researchers know a lot about the snakes on the island, there's still more to be discovered-and previous research to be corrected.
Sri Lanka is a much bigger hotspot for biodiversity than previously known
Researchers can also use the findings to draw conclusions about evolutionary biology and species diversity more broadly.