Tantilla berguidoi

Chucantí Centipede Snake

Tantilla berguidoi

Chucantí Centipede Snake

Tantilla berguidoi

A member of the second-largest genus of snakes in the Western Hemisphere which, despite its wide distribution, includes a large number of secretive and rarely encountered species.

Although not yet evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the authors of the describing paper for this species have suggested that it should be considered Critically Endangered [CR] due to its limited habitat. These authors also discovered that this species has the highest environmental vulnerability score of any Tantilla species after applying the Environmental Vulnerability Score (EVS) methodology.


Placed in the reticulata section of the taeniata group due to its color pattern (pale lateral and mediodorsal stripes on a dark background, head with a pale neck collar).

Tantilla berguidoi

Male: A small, thin snake (40.8 cm long) with a head slightly broader than its body. The head contains a dark cap separated from the rest of the body by a faint pale neck collar. The main portion of the body is striped:

  • Pale brown mediodorsal stripe restricted to the middle half of the mediodorsal scale row and bordered on either side by a dark dorsolateral stripe approximately 2.5 scales wide.
  • A dark ventrolateral stripe 2.5 scales wide is present in scale rows 1, 2, and the first portion of row 3.
  • The dark dorsolateral and ventrolateral stripes are separated by a pale brown stripe 2 scales wide.

Remaining areas are cream or white in color.

Female: Not yet described.

Mapa de distribución de Tantilla berguidoi
Distribution map for Tantilla berguidoi and T. reticulata from Batista et al. (2016). Click for larger view.


To date, this species has only been encountered in Cerro Chucantí.

Biology and Natural History

Apparently active throughout the year, having been observed in January, June, and December. This species seems to be primarily nocturnal: two of the three individuals observed to date were found at night.

Habitat: Eastern Panamanian montane forest in the higher elevations of Cerro Chucantí (encountered around 1,000-1,376 m in elevation and probably to the peak at 1,439 m). This type of forest has trees that are mostly about 15 m tall and covered in bromeliads and other epiphytes. Palms, vines, and bromeliads dominate the understory.

T. bergudoi en situ
T. bergudoi as encountered on the side of the trail at approximately 1,000 m elevation.


This species received its name in honor of Guido Berguido, founder of ADOPTA and the Cerro Chucantí Private Nature Reserve.


iNat Observations
  • Batista, A., K. Mebert, S. Lotzkat, & L.D. Wilson. (2016). A new species of centipede snake of the genus Tantilla (Squamata: Colubridae) from an isolated premontane forest in eastern Panama Mesoamerican Herpetology. 3(4): 948-960. (Link)