A scientific team discovered  a new species of horned pitviper in the critically endangered cloud forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental in Jalisco, Mexico. The research group HERP.MX working together with the Mexican non-profit organization Biodiverse identify the snake as a new species. The snake was named the emerald horned pitviper (Ophryacus smaragdinus) for its bright green color and the two horn-shaped scales above its eyes, which the researchers say they do not yet know the purpose of. The pitviper is referred to as a torito by locals, which means little bull in Spanish.
in the 1850s with Swiss naturalist, Francis Sumichrast in the eastern state of Veracruz. Among Sumichrast’s important reptile and amphibian collections was a series of horned vipers which he sent to various collections around the world – including the Milan Natural History Museum in Italy. Two of these unusual vipers landed in the hands of museum director Georg Jan, who, described them as the new species Trigonocephalus (Atropos) undulatus, now Ophryacus undulatus in 1859 
Fall of 2010 found the HERP.MX Field Team in Sierra Madre Oriental searching for the eastern limit of Crotalus aquilus in the soggy cloud forests of Veracruz. While returning from field work on a windy, pot-holed mountain road, a bright green pit-viper appeared in the headlights. 
The profile view shows a narrow horn immediately above the snake’s eye, typical of Ophryacus undulatus, while these new specimens from east-central Veracruz had rounded horns separated from the eye by other smaller scales. 
A search of museum specimens revealed a second Ophryacus sphenophrys at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – from the same area, and consistent with previous descriptions.
The majority of the snake’s mountainous habitat has been destroyed due to logging and expansion of agriculture and the scientist described the newly discovered species as “highly vulnerable”. “It’s alarming that in developing countries like Mexico there is the very real risk that we’re losing species before they are even discovered,” Christoph Grünwald, Biodiversa’s president and lead researcher.

Calling the new pitviper “a prime example of a ‘near miss,’” Grünwald added, “The Emerald Horned Pitviper occurs primarily in Veracruz, which is Mexico’s most deforested state. To make matters worse, all of the snake’s known habitat falls outside of the few protected areas that exist.”

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