The massive Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is one of the world’s best-known snakes. I had the good fortune of participating in the first long-term study of this species in the wild (please see this article), and zoos have kept and bred them for decades. But its relatives, despite being large, impressive creatures, have not been well studied. One, the Bolivian Anaconda (E. beniensis), was only described in 2002, and its natural history remains shrouded in mystery; we know only a bit more about the Dark-Spotted Anaconda (E. deschauenseei). The Yellow Anaconda (E. notaeus) regularly appears in zoos and the pet trade, but field studies are lacking.
Dark-Spotted or De Schauensee’s Anaconda, Eunectes deschauenseei
Although described as a distinct species back in 1936, the habits of the Dark-Spotted Anaconda remain unstudied, and it rarely appears in public collections. While working with Green Anacondas in Venezuela, I tried to arrange a side trip to an area where they were reported to live, but was unable to arrange it. A review of the acquisition records at the Bronx Zoo, where I worked for many years, revealed that several specimens were believed to be this species, but none were definitely identified as such. I recently poked around among stored Green Anacondas in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History (courtesy of a colleague there) and hope to return to check on Dark-Spotted Anacondas. Although widely separated in range from the Yellow Anaconda, many taxonomists hold that the two are closely related. Read More »