Recently, my collaborators and I published a paper that described a new species of parrot snake from Tobago (click here for a preview). This new snake was named Leptophis haileyi in honor of Dr. Adrian Hailey of the University of the West Indies, a long-time friend and collaborator. This snake has a distinctive snout but is currently only known from a single specimen.
In this paper, we also clarified the evolutionary relationships between one of the other species of parrot snakes from Trinidad and Tobago (Leptophis coruleodorsus, photo below) as compared to mainland forms.
One of the co-authors on the manuscript was Krista Koeller (College of Wooster class of 2013). The molecular phylogenetic analysis presented in this paper was based closely on Krista’s Independent Study thesis. This analysis revealed that L. coeruleodorsus is differentiated from the mainland forms that were included in our analysis. We now have reconstructed the evolutionary history of a number of Trinidad and Tobago amphibians and reptiles (6 frogs, 1 lizard, and 1 snake), with more on the way. Hopefully, these projects will help us understand how these island species came to be where they are and when they got there. Stay tuned!