An expedition led by the biologist Alejandro Arteaga, carried out in November 2021 in the cloud forests in order to find toads that were believed to be extinct, was about to end with a negative result.
However, when they were returning from one of the field trips, they entered the town of Amaluza, in the province of Azuay, to eat.
When the locals heard about the frustration of the scientists for not finding the amphibians, they told the newcomers about the snakes they saw when they visited their deceased relatives buried in the cemetery of this parish in the Sevilla de Oro canton.
After the description, they went to the site and found one of the three new species of snakes discovered (Atractus discovery) among the tombs.
“We found two of the snakes buried in the soft ground next to the graves,” says Arteaga, who clarifies that no grave was excavated or disturbed during the investigation, reports the publication of National Geographic.
The other two were found next to a church in Guanazán, Zaruma parish, in El Oro (Atractus michaelsabini), and under the stones of the school garden in the town of El Chaco, in Napo, at the foot of the El Reventador volcano (Atractus zgap).
“It would not be inaccurate to say that they are the least studied group of snakes of the planet”, affirms Arteaga.
This is due, in part, to the 146 species Known species live underground, in deep rock crevices, often in remote cloud forests. They are all native to Central and South America.indicates the report of National Geographic.
The species of this genus spend a lot of time underground and there was no scientific record in the southern part of Ecuador.
To their natural habitats can be added those created by man, such as village cemeteries and churches.
These ground snakes are harmless to humans. (YO)