Australia is already well-known for its amazing variety of poisonous creatures, and now scientists have added one more snake to the list. The snake is called Acanthophis cryptamydros, also known as the Kimberley death adder.
As the name implies, the poisonous reptilian originates from Kimberley, Australia, which is in the northwestern portion of the continent, and its victims are added to the death toll of poisonous snakes.
Scientists previously believed that all of the death adder snakes were members of the same species. However, during a recent study of the snakes in the region, scientists discovered that the Kimberley death adder was a separate species altogether. The Kimberley death adder has more in common with death adders from the desert than it does with its closest relatives in terms of genetics, which usually reside in forests and woodlands.
Amphibian scientists Paul Doughty said, “These snakes are super-camouflaged; its idea is to look like a rock or a bunch of leaves. Unlike a brown snake they aren’t designed for speed at all, they are quite slow. They use their tail like a lure, they will dangle it down while it’s hidden until a lizard or something comes close and then it will strike.”
Paul Doughty was part of the team of scientists that helped identify the snake.
The Kimberley death adder is orange in color, and it has diamond-shaped heads and scales. The color and texture of the snake help it blend in with the terrain on the desert. The snake is extremely venomous, so much so that is apparently one of the ten deadliest snakes in the world.
Ironically, all of these snakes live in Australia.
The newly discovered snake is also said to be extremely rare.
Kimberley has been a great location for scientists who want to discover new species of amphibians. Since 2006, researchers have discovered six new species of frogs, several new species of geckos and the smallest goanna in the world.
Doughty says, “The Kimberley is an isolated corner of Australia with relic species clinging on for millions of years. There is a huge untapped diversity that we’re just getting a handle on. I could easily point to 20 or 30 specimens we have here that haven’t been described. I won’t run out of things to describe from the Kimberley in my career and my successor won’t run out either.”
Only one live sighting of a Kimberley death adder has been reported in the wild so far. It’s likely that the territory of the serpent is being threatened by fire, wild cattle, and the cane toad plague.