Singapore is a country constantly undergoing change, with new constructions happening rapidly for the development and better living conditions of the people. Ever wondered, such a dynamic country with limited space would care for the conservation of its ecological habitats! Recently, two snake species new to Singapore were discovered, proving that ecological habitats and biodiversity are still thriving.
Black water mud snake:
A non poisonous black water mud snake, 40cm in length was discovered in the Nee Soon Swamp Forest located in the Central Catchment Nature Reserve of Singapore. Staff from National Parks Board’s National Biodiversity Centre discovered this species during a biodiversity study. This species is considered data deficient species with only information available from 10 specimens according to the Red List of threatened species from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Dr. Rudolf Meier from NUS, who led the team that sequenced this species confirming the genetic identity said “Black water mud snake belongs to a large number of species of snakes from south-east Asia, of which we have rudimentary knowledge”.
Smooth slug snake:
Smooth slug snake was found as a road kill at Old Upper Thomson road by a member of the Nature Society, Singapore. Professor Meier said “smooth slug” was previously spotted in the vicinity of Zoo in Mandai but its nativity was unclear. Genetic material from the dead snake was helpful to clear the above doubts”. Smooth slug is considered a species of least concern which is not under threat according to IUCN.
Both the species discovered, inhabit acidic environments like peat swamps and black water environments within South-east Asia. Black water mud snake lives on small fish and aquatic invertebrates whereas Smooth slug’s diet is snails and slugs.
Source: The Straits Times and NUS, Singapore
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