Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 190522493
In search of a long-lost Kenyan endemic snake: a case study of Tana Delta Smooth Snake Meizodon krameri SchÃ¤tti, 1985
Genus Meizodon (Fischer, 1856) is confined in tropical Africa. It only has five species; Meizodon regularis Fischer, 1856; M. plumbiceps (Boettger, 1893); M. coronatus (Schlegel, 1837); M. s. semiornatus and M. krameri. These species are found in central to the north of East Africa (Schätti, 1985), north-east Africa (Schätti, 1985), west Africa (Welch, 1982), South Africa (Broadley, 1983) and endemic to Kenya (Schätti, 1985) respectively. Meizodon krameri is a Kenyan endemic species with its habitat only confined in the Tana River Delta (Spawls et al, 2002). The snake is classified as data deficient (Ver 3.1) by IUCN. It was spotted back in 1936 by Arthur Loveridge where he collected the only available specimens of the Tana delta smooth snake. The specimens were later deposited in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. Beat Schätti, later on, described the specimen as a new species (1985). No other sighting has ever been recorded since. The only other snake of the same genus that can be found in the same region is M. regularis and M. semiornatus. The distinguishing characteristics between these two species is that; M. krameri appears to have a lighter coloration on the venter and also in ventral counts, whereas M. krameri has fewer ventral scales 166-176 versus 159-204 for the M. semiornatus (Schätti, 1985). The distribution of M. semiornatus is widespread occurring in a range of habitats from altitudes of 2200m down to sea levels.
- To rediscover the endemic Meizodon krameri from the Tana River Delta.
- To identify indicators of the presence and site preferences of Meizodon krameri in Tana River delta.
- To map the spatial distribution of Meizodon krameri in Kenya.
- To identify the various threats faced by the Meizodon krameri in its habitat.