The smallest snake in the world

Scientists have found the world's smallest snake: its length does not exceed 10 centimeters. Lives miniature reptile at one of the Caribbean islands.

In fact, Dr. Blair Hedges (Blair Hedges) from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn State University) opened two new subspecies of snakes: Leptotyphlops carlae Barbados (it is the smallest) and Leptotyphlops breuili in St. Lucia.

Although the Americans (whose track record includes 3,100 previously unknown species) is no longer a first discovery, he said the new snake is really important, "I was just amazed when I picked up a rock in a tropical forest and saw this beautiful creature».

Under the surrounding stones will soon discover other representatives of this species, but among them, for some reason, there were only two females.

Generally, a reproduction in Leptotyphlops carlae quite interesting: the female lays only one, but a large egg - the length of the cub birth up to half of its own.

Note that some snakes lay a hundred or more eggs, and the length of the newborn offspring on average does not exceed 10% of the length of adult individuals.

This strategy of "bigger" allows a miniature reproduction of snakes born the most prepared for the "adult life". By the standards of this kind, of course: it is as if our children at birth weighed about 30 kilograms and immediately went to high school.

According to Dr. Hedges, if the size of the newborn was "normal" (with respect to the length of an adult body), something so small snake simply would not find a suitable feed.

The snake eats termites and range of its habitat is limited to Barbados. However, the island has always regarded by biologists as visual evolutionary laboratories, because there is limited and the size of populations and possible adaptations, but at the same time, not all niches usually occupied (photos Blair Hedges).

The study's author recalls that have long existed three copies found their "kids": one in the Natural History Museum in London (Natural History Museum), and the other two - Martinique (Martinique).

However, until now they have not been classified, and some even thought these extinct reptiles. "The complexity of the classification of tiny animals that they are virtually indistinguishable from each other," - says Dr. Hedges.

At this time, to be sure researchers used comparative analysis of mitochondrial DNA have been tested 3470 base pairs and is installed accessory species of snakes found.

By the way, today the forest covers only about 5% of the area of ​​Barbados, and a haven for Leptotyphlops carlae are small "survivors" groves, scattered around the island.

Author finds not exclude that the species is on the brink of extinction and found only to lose again soon - alas, forever.


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