A mysterious species of snake that had been long disappeared was spotted wandering around in a remote Mexican island.
Clarion nightsnake, the nocturnal creature was first seen over 80 years ago on Clarion Island and since then it seemed to have disappeared. William Beebe, a naturalist was the first to discover the snake in 1936 and named it Hypsiglena ochrorhyncha unaocularu.
"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," Live Science quoted Daniel Mulcahy, lead study author and a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C.
"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." He added.
The rare snake has brownish-black spots that help them camouflage while creeping through the black lava rock of the island, making it difficult to spot them.
The creature can grow up to 18 inches long. But due to its camouflaging nature, the nightsnakes tend to remain hidden for a longer duration. This snake specimen was kept in the collections of American Museum of Natural History in New York but as no other researchers have spotted the snake, its identification as a separate species was not taken into consideration.
But Mulcahy and colleagues at Instituto de Ecología in Mexico, set out in search of the missing species in Revillagigedo Islands in 2013.
The team discovered 11 specimens of nightsnake and a DNA test confirmed that the snakes were from a different species.
Though the population of this species remain stable at present, feral cats dwelling in neighboring island pose a threat in the future.
The details of the findings have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.