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New Species of Amazon Anaconda Discovered: Eunectes Akiyama

Researchers in Ecuador’s rainforest have uncovered a new species of anaconda, Eunectes Akiyama, which split from its closest relatives 10 million years ago. Despite their genetic distinction, these anacondas are visually identical to the previously known species, Eunectes murinus.

Discovery and Characteristics

  • The discovery was made by a team led by Dutch biologist Freek Vonk, who encountered the massive 20-foot-long specimens in the Amazon.
  • The new species, dubbed the “northern green anaconda,” weighs up to 200 kilograms (441 pounds) and showcases significant genetic divergence from its counterpart.

Environmental Implications

  • Australian professor of biology Bryan G. Fry, who has extensively studied anacondas, highlights the significance of using these snakes as indicators of environmental health.
  • Anacondas provide insights into the ecological impacts of oil spills in the Yasuni region of Ecuador, revealing alarming levels of petrochemical contamination in their bodies.

Human Health Concerns

  • Fry warns about the potential risks posed to human health, particularly to pregnant women, due to the accumulation of oil spill metals in anacondas and arapaima fish.
  • Similar to avoiding mercury-contaminated fish elsewhere, pregnant women are advised to steer clear of arapaima fish from polluted areas to mitigate health risks.

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