Posted: Sep 5, 2018

Photo: Dr Freek Vonk

Analysis of genetic and morphological data collected from specimens of bandy-bandy discovered in northern Queensland by Dr Bryan Fry and Dr Freek Vonk in 2014 have confirmed the snake is a new, mildly venomous species – the Weipa bandy-bandy (Vermicella parscauda, above). This 80–100 cm black-and-white banded snake, while part of the venomous elapidae family, is not considered harmful to humans. In fact, its venom may contain medicinal properties, suggests Dr Kevin Arbuckle of Swansea University, who led the molecular data analysis. The species’ distribution is limited and threatened by bauxite mining, so formal evaluation will likely result in it being classified as endangered or critically endangered.

Derez CM, et al. 2018. Zootaxa. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4446.1.1