NEW SPECIES FOUND!!!! Metallic purple creatures and more!

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Elusive mountain creature — with ‘metallic purple’ body — discovered as new species​

A“metallic purple” mountain creature slithered along a dry stream on the tallest peak in Vietnam. Perhaps its shiny body gave it away, or maybe its coloring was just too noticeable. Nearby scientists spotted the animal — and discovered a new species.

Researchers ventured into the high-altitude forests of Mount Fansipan to study threatened species, co-authors Daniel Kane and Luan Thanh Nguyen wrote in a Sept. 6 news release from the Zoological Society of London.

Although they were looking for frogs, the researchers found something else entirely.

“Returning to camp shortly after midday after collecting supplies, two porters from the local H’mong community — Chang A. Sung and Pao A. Vang — came across a small, metallic purple snake,” the release said.

The snake was slithering “along a dry streambed” when it was captured, according to a study published Sept. 7 in the journal Zootaxa.

Researchers looked at the snake and realized it “didn’t match the description” of any known species, the release said. In a genetic database, they found an unidentified snake from China that was a “near-identical match” to the snake found on Mount Fansipan.

Researchers soon realized they’d discovered a new species of snake: rhabdophis hmongorum, or the H’mong keelback, the study said.

The H’mong keelback snake measures about 20 inches in length, researchers said. Its scales are smooth near its head and become increasingly rougher in texture toward its tail. The snake’s body is “purplish gray with distinct iridescence.” Its stomach is also “iridescent.”

Photos show the belly of a H’mong keelback snake. It has a brown color and is very shiny. The shine makes it look like there are small rainbows along its body.

Despite several more expeditions to look for H’mong keelback snakes, researchers couldn’t find any more of these elusive reptiles. So far, the new species has only been found on Mount Fansipan, but it probably lives in China as well, the study said.

Mount Fansipan is about 160 miles northwest of Hanoi and near the Vietnam-China border. It’s the tallest mountain in Vietnam, the release said.

Researchers named the new species for the H’mong people, “an ethnic minority people in the northwest montane regions of Vietnam,” the study said.

“Throughout the years we’ve worked in the region, the contribution of porters from the local H’mong community — such as Chang A. Sung and Pao A. Vang — has been invaluable to the success of these expeditions,” Kane and Nguyen said in the release.

The new species was identified based on its scale pattern, coloring, location, genitalia and teeth, the study said. DNA analysis found the new species “is as much as 4% different from its next closest relative,” the news release said.

Keelback snakes are “generally medium-sized, semi-aquatic snakes found across south, east, and southeast Asia,” Kane and Nguyen said in the release. Although often venomous, these snakes are “generally harmless to humans.”

Researchers said in the study that additional surveys are needed to determine the H’mong keelback snake’s geographic distribution, population size and behavior.

The research team included Daniel Kane, Benjamin Tapley, Toi Van La and Luan Thanh Nguyen. The research was also a collaboration among the Zoological Society of London, the Asian Turtle Program of Indo-Myanmar Conservation and Hoàng Liên National Park.




‘Pear-shaped’ creatures — with unusual genitalia — found in Australia.​

During a recent field trip through southern Australia, a group of researchers collected a number of “unusual” orb-weaving spiders. The tiny critters’ long, cylindrical abdomen resembled other species’, but scientists noticed distinct differences. Instead, the creature was identified as belonging to a new genus and species of spider, according to a study published Sept. 4 in Evolutionary Systematics.

Named Venomius tomhardyi because of its resemblance to Marvel’s Venom — portrayed by actor Tom Hardy in several films — the new species was previously known in museum records, but it had never undergone extensive research, experts said. Scientists said they collected an abundance of male and female Venomius tomhardyi throughout southern Australia.

A male Venomius tomhardyi. Rossi GF, Castanheira PS, Baptista RLC, Framenau VW via Evolutionary Systematics

A female Venomius tomhardyi. Rossi GF, Castanheira PS, Baptista RLC, Framenau VW via Evolutionary Systematics

At night, the creatures were found in the bushlands and forests in vertical orb-webs about 3 feet to 6.5 feet off the ground, the study said. Webs were usually found on exposed, dead or fallen branches, but they were sometimes attached to tree trunks. Some webs, especially those used by females and juveniles, were connected to silk-lined holes in the branches where the spiders could retreat to if disturbed.

During the day, the creatures were observed hiding in the silk-lined hollows, according to researchers. The medium-sized, orb-weaving spiders are “pear-shaped” and long, scientists said. They are distinguished from other, similar spider species by their unique genitalia.

Male specimens measured between 0.2 inches and 0.25 inches, scientists said. Their carapaces (hard defensive covering), chelicerae (mouth) and upper legs are orange-brown. The lower parts of their legs are darker. The spiders have a pale yellow abdomen that is marked with three large black streaks, photos show. The streaks expand into a large black patch at the back of the creature’s abdomen.

Female Venomius tomhardyi are larger than males, measuring between 0.35 inches and 0.46 inches, according to researchers. They have a black carapace and chelicerae. Their legs are black and yellow. The females also have a pale yellow abdomen with dark marks that merge into a dark black patch, the study said.