Typhlops golyathi, Domínguez, Michel & Moreno, Luis V., 2009

Domínguez, Michel & Moreno, Luis V., 2009, Taxonomy of the Cuban blind snakes (Scolecophidia, Typhlopidae), with the description of a new large species, Zootaxa 2028, pp. 59-66: 61-63

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.186240

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scientific name

Typhlops golyathi

sp. nov.

Typhlops golyathi  sp. nov.

( Tables 1, 2; Figs. 1View FIGURE 1, 2View FIGURE 2)

Holotype. Male CZACC 4.5385 from Valle de San Vicente, Viñales Municipality, Pinar del Río Province, Cuba, 83 º 43 '00'' N, 22 º 41 '00'' W, 112 m elevation, collected on April 2003 by Roberto Alonso.

Diagnosis. A large species (360 mm maximum SVL) with moderate body size (57.8 TL/MBD) of the T. biminiensis  species group that presents more middorsal scales (> 625) than any other West Indian species ( Table 1). It also presents a posterior reduction of four longitudinal scale rows, this characteristic is unique among species of the group. The closest species is T. arator  . Both species are large Cuban blind snakes, have the same number of scale rows at the anterior part of the body (26) and a greater number of middorsal scales than any other West Indian species ( Table 1). Also, both species are distributed to the west of the remaining species of the T. biminiensis  species group ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2). However, the new species can be distinguished from T. arator  by its posterior scale row reduction (4 rows vs. 2 rows), total middorsals (> 625 vs. <580), relative tail length (3 % vs. 2 %), snout and rostral patterns, ocular size (OLM/OW 0.8 vs. 0.5) and sinuosity (0.8 vs. 0.2) ( Tables 1, 2).

Character Species

Description. Male with large size (360 mm SVL), 11 mm TA, 371 mm TL, 33.7 TL/TA, moderate body, 4.2 mm ABD, 6.4 mm MBD, 5.3 mm PBD, 3.7 mm TD, 88.3 TL/ABD, 58.0 TL/MBD, 70.0 TL/PBD, 3.0 TA/ TD. Tail with a small apical spine and three scales bordering the vent opening. Head non –distinct from neck and ogival in dorsal view, broader than long (1.06 HWM/HL), narrowing to the apex, 0.89 HWE/HWM and 0.52 HWN/HWM, strongly dorso –ventrally depressed. Snout lightly sharp –pointed, narrow (0.50 IND / HWM) and ogival to rounded head in outline. Rostral broad in dorsal view, broader than long (1.03 RWD 1 / RLD 2, 0.92 RWD 1 /RLD 1), curved –sided (1.01 RWD 2 /RWD 1), lightly umboed, not flared on anterior apex, nearly parallel –sided midrostrally, with sharp –pointed to rounded posterior apex, almost reaching interocular level, 0.08 mm RED (0.04 RED/RLD 2); broad rostral in ventral view, broader than long, without anterior constriction, anteriorly equally as broad as in dorsal view, obliquely –sided with strong posterior constriction near the mouth, 1.90 ((RWD 1 + RTL)/TL)* 100. Nasal completely divided; subtriangular superior nasal, with shallow concavity in posterior margin and narrowly in contact with anterior margin of the supraocular; broad nostrils, not visible in dorsal view and much closer to rostral margin than preocular margin; short superior nasal suture and nostrils obliquely oriented (45 º angle approximately) to the body longitudinal axis in lateral view; inferior nasal suture with a pronounced curve and contacting in the midpoint of second supralabial; nasal –preocular suture coincident with second –third supralabials suture; preocular –ocular suture coincident with third –fourth supralabials suture; postnasal pattern divergent (0.61 PPNW / APNW, 0.63 RWD 1 / APNW). Single preocular with "S" pattern, twice as wide as long (0.51 RC/PW), smaller than superior nasal and ocular, in contact with second and third supralabials (0.28 mm PSL), sinuous preocular –ocular suture (0.72 PS, 0.79 OS). Polygonal ocular and longer than wide (0.72 OLM/OW); black eyes, 0.28 mm ED, at preocular notch level, 2.63 mm IOD, and distant from the snout, 0.50 SED/HL; postocular located between parietal and fourth supralabial, with straight posterior margin. Frontal similar to supraocular, both slightly longer than postfrontal, interparietal and interoccipital; nuchal similar to the costals; supraocular obliquely oriented (45 º angle approximately) to the head midline; two parietals extending towards the head midline and two occipitals nearly transversely oriented to body axis and parietals. Scale posterior borders are sharp –pointed to rounded in frontal, supraocular, interparietal, interoccipital and nuchal; lightly truncated in postfrontal and parietals, and lightly rounded in occipitals. Four supralabials with T –III imbrication pattern; second supralabial 1.5 times the size of first, in contact with nasal superior and lower edge of preocular; third supralabial twice the size of the first, in contact with preocular and lower edge of ocular; fourth supralabial is the largest, more than four times the first, with convex posterior margin. Four infralabials; second lightly larger than first; third twice times the first; fourth infralabial is the largest, 2.5 times the first. Middorsal scale count, 629; 26 scale rows, reducing posteriorly to: 25 scale rows at 29 % TL or 231 th middorsal scales level, 24 scale rows at 30 % TL or 235 th middorsal scales level, 23 scale rows at 39 % TL or 285 th middorsal scales level, and finally to 22 at 42 % TL or 298 th middorsal scales level. Dorsocaudals, 20 and ventrocaudals, 22.

and Hedges (2007).

Coloration in alcohol dark brown dorsum and light brown venter. Number of dark brown scale rows (in dorsal view) counted at neck, midbody and before vent levels are seven, 11 and 11, respectively. Whitish snout: rostral, nasals, preocular, anterior portion of frontal, mid –inferior of ocular and postocular, and four supralabials. Tail unspotted along ventral surface.

Etymology. Patronymic of Golyath (Later Latin translated from Hebrew), biblical giant from book 1 st Samuel, Old Testament. Name in allusion to the large size of this species.

Natural History. The animal was collected under a stone, during the day. This region reaches 28 – 30 ºC maximum temperature in summer and 14 – 16 ºC minimum temperature in winter. It receives approximately 1 800 mm of annual precipitation (Instituto Cubano de Geodesia y Cartografía, 1978). The vegetation is characterized by semideciduous and evergreen forests, and vegetation complex of “mogote” – peculiar karst mountains called “mogotes” in Spanish, from Western and Central Cuba ( Capote and Berazaín, 1984).

Distribution. Typhlops golyathi  is known only from the type –locality of Valle de San Vicente, Viñales Municipality, Pinar del Río Province, Cuba ( Fig. 2View FIGURE 2).

TABLE 1. Comparison among eight Cuban Typhlops species of T. biminiensis species group using selected characters: A, T. golyathi; B, T. anchaurus; C, T. anousius; D, T. arator; E, T. contorhinus; F, T. notorachius; G, T. perimychus; H, T. satelles. Data for species B to G were obtained from Thomas and Hedges (2007), and for species C from Domínguez and Moreno (in press).

  A 371 B 240     E 316      
  629 514 460–513 578–579 502 475–529 453–496  

TABLE 2. Comparison between Typhlops golyathi and Typhlops arator. Data for T. arator were obtained from Thomas

  Species T. golyathi Ogival  to rounded  

Coleccion Zoologia, Academia de Ciencias de Cuba