Humans haven’t seen a living short-nosed sea snake 15 years. But there they were, two such snakes swimming along in the waters of the Western Australian Ningaloo Reef. Luckily, a park ranger snapped a photo of the pair and submitted it to scientists.
Researchers published the discovery of living Aipysurusapraefrontalis snakes, along with another thought-to-be-extinct snake species, in the journal Biological Conservation on Monday.
“We were blown away, these potentially extinct snakes were there in plain sight, living on one of Australia’s natural icons, Ningaloo Reef,” study lead author Blanche D’Anastasi said in a release.
“What is even more exciting is that they were courting, suggesting that they are members of a breeding population” added D’Anastasi, a scientist with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University in Australia.
The short-nosed sea snake has been listed as critically endangered since it disappeared from its only known habitat, the Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea.
(Courtesy: Washington Post)