Spider-tailed Viper [VIDEO]

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The specific name, urarachnoides, is derived from Ancient Greek (οὐρά tail + ἀράχνη spider + οειδής like), and refers to this snake’s spider-like tail tip, as does the common name, spider-tailed horned viper. It uses the spider-like tail to attract prey (usually birds) to come closer. When close enough, the viper strikes out, usually killing the victim.

First discovered in the 1960’s and then rediscovered in 2006, this very interesting viper species is unique to science. Its tail is extremely bizarre, and has evolved to mimic that of a solifugid, spider, scorpion or centipede. It is used as a lure to attract prey, most likely feeding on the birds that would usually be hunting arachnids. These Iran-native snakes have not had their venom studied yet, but it would be fair and safe to assume that their venom is potent and dangerous to humans.

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Posted on June 29, 2015, in Nature and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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