New species of coffee snake discovered in the cloud forest of Ecuador

Biologists of Khamai Foundation and Liberty University discovered a new species of coffee-snake in the cloud forests of Ecuador. The discovery was made official in a study published today in the journal Evolutionary Systematics. Like other members of the genus, the new snake utilizes coffee plantations, presumably as a way to survive despite the deforestation of the Andean cloud forest ecosystem.

Close-up of the Tudors’s Coffee-Snake (Ninia guytudori)

The new species is named Ninia guytudori, in honor of naturalist Guy Tudor, in recognition of the impact he has had on the conservation of South America’s birds through his artistry. Photo by Alejandro Arteaga.

White background image of the Tudors’s Coffee-Snake (Ninia guytudori)

When threatened, individuals of the Tudors’s Coffee-Snake (Ninia guytudori) flatten the body and tail. Photo by Jose Vieira.

The discovery of the new species outlines the importance of preserving the cloud forest ecosystem and the need to explore adjacent human-modified habitats such as coffee plantations and pastures.