Sunday, August 03, 2008
A lot of people would say that, if we have to find new snakes, it is best those snakes are small. Well, Leptotyphlops carlae, a new snake from Barbados, is as small as they come. It's the size of a 10-cm-long spaghetti noodle. The snake is so small that, like its slightly larder cousins in the group called the threadsnakes, it can produce only one egg at a time. If it had two, the hatchlings would be too tiny to survive. Biologist Blair Hedges of Penn State, who described the animal along with a companion species nearly as long from the island of St. Lucia, thinks this may be as small as snakes get. "Snakes may be prevented by natural selection from becoming too small because, below a certain size, there may be nothing for their young to eat."