New Death Adder Species Discovered in Australia

Posted on September 27, 2015

Kimberley death adder, Acanthophis cryptamydros

Scientists have discovered a new species of death adder in Western Australia. The species was found in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. The snake has been named the Kimberley death adder and has the scientific name, Acanthophis cryptamydros.

The tan colored snake has a diamond shaped head. It is described as a sit-and-wait predator using camouflage to hide, wait and then strike prey once it is in range. It eats frogs, lizards, eggs, birds and small mammals.

Paul Doughty, curator of herpetology at the Western Australian Museum, tells The Guardian, "These snakes are super-camouflaged – its idea is to look like a rock or a bunch of leaves. Unlike a brown snake they aren't designed for speed at all, they are quite slow. They use their tail like a lure, they will dangle it down while it's hidden until a lizard or something comes close and then it will strike."

The newly discovered death adder is potentially threatened by an invading wave of cane toads in Australia according to an article from the Natural History Museum, London. The cane toads are highly toxic and the snakes can die after consuming them.

Head of the Kimberley death adder


A research paper on the new death adder species can be found here in the journal, Zootaxa.

Photos: R.J. Ellis, Western Australian Museum