Iwasaki's snail-eater

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Iwasaki's snail-eater
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Squamata
Suborder: Serpentes
Family: Pareidae
Genus: Pareas
P. iwasakii
Binomial name
Pareas iwasakii
(Maki, 1937)
  • Amblycephalus formosensis iwasakii
    Maki, 1937
  • Pareas iwasakii
    Takara, 1962[2]

Iwasaki's snail-eater, Pareas iwasakii, is a species of snake in the family Pareidae. The species is endemic to the Yaeyama Islands in the southern Ryukyu Islands, Japan.[2]


The specific name, iwasakii, is in honor of Japanese meteorologist Takuji Iwasaki.[3]


Snail-eater in action
Skull of Pareas iwasakii

Pareas iwasakii is a snail-eating specialist;[4] even newly hatched individuals feed on snails.[5] It has asymmetric jaws, which facilitates feeding on snails with dextral (clockwise coiled) shells.[6] A consequence of this asymmetry is that Pareas iwasakii is much less adept at preying on sinistral (counterclockwise coiled) snails.[7]


Originally described as Amblycephalus formosensis iwasakii by Moichirō Maki,[8] it is currently placed in the genus Pareas.[9]


  1. ^ Kidera, N. & Ota, H. 2017. Pareas iwasakii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T16220A96877422. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T16220A96877422.en. Downloaded on 03 January 2019.
  2. ^ a b Pareas iwasakii at the Reptarium.cz Reptile Database
  3. ^ Beolens B, Watkins M, Grayson M. (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Pareas iwasakii, p. 131).
  4. ^ Hoso, M.; M. Hori (2006). "Identification of molluscan prey from feces of Iwasaki's slug snake, Pareas iwasakii". Herpetological Review. 37: 174–176.
  5. ^ Hoso, M. (2007). "Oviposition and hatchling diet of a snail-eating snake Pareas iwasakii (Colubridae: Pareatinae)". Current Herpetology. 26: 41–43. doi:10.3105/1345-5834(2007)26[41:OAHDOA]2.0.CO;2.
  6. ^ Hoso, Masaki; Takahiro Asami; Michio Hori (2007). "Right-handed snakes: convergent evolution of asymmetry for functional specialization". Biology Letters. 3 (2): 169–173. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2006.0600. PMC 2375934. PMID 17307721.
  7. ^ Hoso, Masaki; Yuichi Kameda; Shu-Ping Wu; Takahiro Asami; Makoto Kato; Michio Hori (2010). "A speciation gene for left-right reversal in snails results in anti-predator adaptation". Nature Communications. 1 (9): 133. doi:10.1038/ncomms1133. PMC 3105295. PMID 21139578.
  8. ^ Maki, M (1937). "A new subspecies, Amblycephalus formosensis iwasakii, belonging to Amblycephalidae Ishigaki-jima". Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Formosa. 27: 217–218.
  9. ^ Ota, Hidetoshi; Jun-Tsong Lin; Toru Hirata; Szu-Lung Chen (1997). "Systematic review of colubrid snakes of the genus Pareas in the East Asian islands". Journal of Herpetology. 31 (1): 79–87. doi:10.2307/1565332. JSTOR 1565332.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hoso, Masaki; Hori, Michio (2008). "Divergent Shell Shape as an Antipredator Adaptation in Tropical Land Snails". American Naturalist. 172 (5): 726–32. doi:10.1086/591681. PMID 18834301..