snake
Ghost snakes are pale gray in color and are covered with a pattern of black and white spots. In picture: A rebel fighter from 'Jaysh al-Sunna' holds a snake in the southern Aleppo countryside, Syria June 10, 2016.Reuters

A new species of snake, called "ghost snake," has been discovered by researchers in the rocky Madagascar plateau. These snakes are pale gray in color and are covered with a pattern of black and white spots and hence get the name "ghost snake."

Its scientific name is Madagascarophis lolo, which too means "ghost" in Malagasy.

"None of the other snakes in Madagascarophis are as pale and none of them have this distinct pattern," explained Sara Ruane, post-doctoral researcher at the LSU Museum of Natural Science and lead author of this research. The study was published in Copeia journal on Sept.15, 2016.

The first ghost snake was found by researchers in February 2014 at the Ankarana reserve in northern Madagascar among limestone tsingy rocks. It was 20-inches long and its DNA verification led to the confirmation that it is a new species.

These snakes belong to a species called "cat-eyed snakes" as they possess vertical pupils like felines.Their vertical pupils reveal that they are usually active post sunset and during night time.

Other details like the total population of the newly discovered species is still unknown. It is believed that these snakes are not extinct or endangered as the first serpent found in Madagascar was in a safeguarded national park. These snakes most likely choose degraded forests or developed areas as their habitat.

Quick Links