An unprecedented kind of snake paraguaya was discovered by a group of researchers from the National Researcher Incentive Program (PRONII) of the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Paraguay.
belongs to the genus phalotris and named her Shawnella. It is unique in the world, and was discovered in the cities of Colonia Volendam and Laguna Blanca in the Department of San Pedro. Descriptive material on the reptile called “A new kind of phalotris (Snakes, Colubridae, Elapomorphini) from Paraguay” was published in the international journal Zoosystematics and Evolution.
It is a medium-sized snake, with a head that is not differentiated from the body, with a pointed and very prominent snout, adapted for digging (fossorial way of life), red ventral, black or dark brown on the sides, and brick red on the back. . It has 15 scales around the body, and lacks the first row of temporal scales. There is a very similar species called Phalotris nigrilatusbut they differ because P. shawnella has a yellowish collar, absent in P. nigrilatus.
Pier Cacciali, principal doctor of the research, commented that, “The discovery of a new species can occur by reviewing scientific collections or by field registration. After consulting the pertinent literature, and being sure that it is a new species, experts in the area are usually contacted to have other opinions. Afterwards, a very detailed description is made where morphological characters are specified based on a specimen that is the one that will forever bear the name of the species”.
The snakes of the genus phalotris they have a certain degree of toxicity in their saliva, but they do not represent a danger to humans, and they are also very docile animals that do not try to bite. However, in no way should it be tampered with. In addition, it is endemic to Paraguay, and in particular to the Department of San Pedro. It is not known from anywhere else in the world.