Amphisbaena supernumeraria, Mott, Tamí, Rodrigues, Miguel Trefaut & Santos, Ednilza Maranhão Dos, 2009

Mott, Tamí, Rodrigues, Miguel Trefaut & Santos, Ednilza Maranhão Dos, 2009, A new Amphisbaena with chevron-shaped anterior body annuli from state of Pernambuco: Brazil (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae), Zootaxa 2165, pp. 52-58: 53-55

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.189069

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Amphisbaena supernumeraria

sp. nov.

Amphisbaena supernumeraria  , sp. nov.

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

Holotype: MZUSP 98101 ( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1, 2View FIGURE 2), an adult male collected at Fazenda Porto Seguro (08° 29 ’ 13 ’’S, 37 ° 16 ’ 52 ’’W), Parque Nacional do Catimbau  , municipality of Buique, state of Pernambuco, Brazil, by Miguel T. Rodrigues and Ednilza Maranhão dos Santos on 7 th March, 2008. Field number MTR 15383View Materials.

Paratypes: MZUSP 98098-98100; same data as for the holotype.

Etymology: The specific name derives from the Latin “ super ” (beyond), and “ numeraria ” (number), referring to the highest number of body annuli of this species comparing with its congeners.

Diagnosis: A small and slender Amphisbaena  with four precloacal pores, 333–337 body annuli, 22–23 caudal annuli, discrete autotomic site on annuli 10–12, and tip of the tail pointed or keeled ( Fig. 3View FIGURE 3), 14 dorsal and 17–18 ventral segments per annuli at midbody, fainted ventral sulcus. Nasal and prefrontal scales absent, fused with the rostral; frontal scales fused forming a single, large and wide heptagonal scale, the largest scale on top of head; three supra and three infralabials. The presence of more than 300 body annuli as well as the presence of frontal scales fused, forming a single large scale on top of head, and the tenth anteriormost body annuli chevron-shaped are unique characters among Amphisbaena  and separate this species from all other congeners.

Description of the holotype ( Figs. 1View FIGURE 1, 2View FIGURE 2): A small and slender amphisbaenian, with head not distinct from the body, elongated snout, mouth ventral, and 212 mm of total length (17 mm corresponding to tail). Rostral, nasal and prefrontal scales fused, forming a single scale in the anterior part of head; triangular, contacting anterolaterally first supralabial, and posteriorly frontal. Frontal scales fused, forming the largest scale on top of head; pentagonal, slight wider than long, contacting anterolaterally second supralabial, laterally the ocular and posteriorly the parietals. Paired parietals, wider than long, approximately one-tenth of size of frontal and half size of ocular, contacting broadly the dorsal side of ocular. Temporal and postocular not differentiated, included as part of the first body annulus. Ocular pentagonal, with an anteriorly oriented pointed tip, contacting second and third supralabials, frontal, parietals, and two segments of the first complete body annulus. Eye barely visible, situated just dorsal to the suture between second and third supralabials. Three supralabials, first smallest, trapezoid, anteriorly in broad contact with the tip of the snout, and posteriorly with the second supralabial. Second supralabial slightly larger than third, quadrangular, contacting anterolaterally first supralabial, dorsally the frontal and the ocular, and posteriorly third supralabial. Third supralabial nearly two-third of the size of the second supralabial. Three infralabials, the second trapezoidal, being the largest scale in the lower jaw. First infralabial trapezoidal, slightly smaller than mental. Second infralabial in broad contact with postmental and malar. Third infralabial smallest, contacting broadly the malar. Mental trapezoid, long and wider anteriorly, slightly longer than postmental. Postmental pentagonal, contacting anteriorly mental, laterally first and second infralabials, and posteriorly the first row of postgenials. Two rows of postgenials, first with two segments, second with three. Malar trapezoid, nearly the same size of second infralabial, contacting anteriorly second infralabial, medially the two rows of postgenials, laterally the third infralabial, and posteriorly in contact with the first body annulus. Postmalar row absent. Body annuli with well marked sulcus. The five anteriormost body annuli strongly oblique back and downward. The 3 th to 9 th body annuli forming chevrons on the dorsal view. Follow these differentiated body annuli, 328 normally transverse annuli. Total body annuli 337, with six intercalated ones (annuli 93, 276, 282, 331, 332, 333). The last body annulus ends in the row bearing the precloacal pores. Four rounded precloacal pores, sitting on the hind margin of moderately elongated segments. Ventral sulcus fainted starting on body annulus 75 th. Lateral sulcus evident, dorsal sulcus absent. Fourteen rectangular dorsal and 17 ventral segments per midbody annulus, ventral segments squared, with nearly the same size as dorsal segments. Twenty-two tail annuli with a discrete autotomic site on annulus 12 th and a pointed end.

Coloration in preservative: Uniform coloration, dorsal ground pale brown, and ventral region immaculate.

Variation: The paratypes MZUSP 98099 and 98100 have fainted precloacal pores. The former has three segments in the first row of postgenials (other specimens have two), and the later has an autotomized tail (the tail was broken in the annulus 10 th). The number of intercalated annuli varies from three to five, and the keeled tail is well defined on MZUSP 98098 and 98099.

Distribution and Natural History ( Fig. 4View FIGURE 4): The Parque Nacional do Catimbau  , with an area of about 62.000 hectares, protects habitats included or surrounding for highly eroded plateau of Silurian-Devonian sedimentary deposits of Tacaratu formation ( Projeto RADAMBRASIL 1983; CPRM 2005) in the semiarid Caatingas of state of Pernambuco. The plateau has elevations varying from 700 to about 1000 m and is covered by xeromorphic Caatinga vegetation with dominance of Euphorbiaceae  , Caesalpiniaceae  , Myrtaceae  , Mymosaceae, Fabaceae  and Cactaceae ( Gomes et al. 2006)  . Areas of accumulation of sandy soils resulting from erosion of the plateau are sparsely covered by tickets of vegetation with a dry and thin leaf litter. More data and a figure with details of the general aspect of the relief and vegetation of the area are in Rodrigues & Santos (in press). The four specimens of Amphisbaena supernumeraria  were found while searching in sandy soils for the fossorial lizard Scriptosaura catimbau  , recently described as a new genus and species from the same area (Rodrigues & Santos in press).


Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de Sao Paulo