Leptotyphlops nursii

Published, First, 2007, A revision of the genus Leptotyphlops in northeastern Africa and southwestern Arabia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae), Zootaxa 1408, pp. 1-78: 20

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1175­5334

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http://treatment.plazi.org/id/A77887C2-FFCE-FFE9-FF02-817A44CAB0DF

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scientific name

Leptotyphlops nursii
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Leptotyphlops nursii   (Anderson in Boulenger) ( Plate 7, Fig. 1)

Nurse's Worm Snake

Glauconia nursii Anderson   in Boulenger, 1896, Cat. Snakes Brit. Mus. 3: 591. Type locality: Aden [= Yemen] (12°46’N,

45°01’E, near sea level), lectotype BMNH 1946.1.16.91 (formerly BMNH 1895.11.27.1), collected by C.G. Nurse   ;

Anderson, 1896: 64. Glauconia cairi   — Werner, 1907: 42 (part, Durri). Leptotyphlops nursii   — Parker, 1938: 488; Corkill & Cochrane, 1966: 496; Hahn, 1980: 23 (part); Gasperetti, 1988: 201

(part); McDiarmid et al., 1999: 39; Baha el Din, 2006: 223, figs. A–B [p. 225]. Leptotyphlops nursi   — Schmidt & Hoogstraal, 1951: 6; Schmidt, 1953: 259; Spanò, 1972: 131; Farag & Banaja, 1980:

13; Wranik, 1993: 10, fig (unnumbered); Abadi, 1998: 101. Leptotyphlops cairi   — Schmidt & Marx, 1957: 23; Marx, 1968: 28; Saleh, 1997: 131 (part). Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus   — Corkill & Cochrane, 1966: 496. Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus macrorhynchus   — Hahn, 1978: 483 (part); Gasperetti, 1988: 200 (part). Leptotyphlops blanfordi nursi   — Hahn, 1978: 486 (part), fig. 8. Leptotyphlops blanfordi nursii   — Leviton & Aldrich, 1984: xxiv; Arnold, 1987: 252. Leptotyphlops blanfordii nursii   — Schätti & Gasperetti, 1994: 382; Schätti & Desvoignes, 1999: 78.

Diagnosis. A member of the Leptotyphlops longicaudus   species group, resembling L. blanfordii   in having 12 scale rows on the tail, but differing in its skull, with two supraoccipitals and a large frontoparietal foramen. The snout is rounded in lateral profile. Leptotyphlops nursii   differs from L. burii   (with which it is sympatric at ad-Dali) in having only 281–378 middorsal scales and much smaller rostral and frontal shields.

Description. Body cylindrical, with head broader than neck and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly before a small terminal spine.

Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.46–0.55 head width, mean = 0.49), distinctly wider than nasals anteriorly and extending to a point nearly level with the front of the eyes, a distinct preoral groove is present ventrally with a slight ventral extension of rostral below lip level. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril nearer to supralabial than rostral along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial with a width along lip twice than of infranasal, large ocular with centrally placed eye, and large posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, subequal to frontal, anteriorly wedged between supranasal and ocular, posteriorly wedged between frontal and postfrontal, which are hexagonal and subequal, but slightly smaller than the interparietal and interoccipital. Parietals transverse, in contact with the posterior supralabial. Occipitals variable, enlarged and fused in the types and half of sample but not fused in other half. Temporal single. No mental, four infralabials.

Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 12 rows on tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield. Middorsals 281–378; subcaudals 34–48.

Total length/diameter ratio 48–105; total length/tail ratio 7.2–16.8.

Dorsum usually pale brown, venter creamy-white.

Size. Largest specimen ( BMNH 1946.1.16.91 — Aden, lectotype) 218 + 24 = 242 mm   .

Distribution. Long known from southwestern Arabia, this species is now recorded from the highlands of northern Somalia, 50–1525 m (Fig. 7).

Localities. SOMALIA. Ethiopian border at 10°10'N, 42°50'E, 1525 m GoogleMaps   , BMNH 1949.2.3.48; 10°33'N, 48°58'E, 915 m GoogleMaps   , MZUF 4473 View Materials   ; Wagga, Golis Mts   . BMNH 1905.11   .7.40. SAUDI ARABIA. Najran BMNH 1938.2   .1.69. YEMEN. ad-Dali BMNH 1907.3.7.1; ad-Darb ( Schätti & Desvoignes, 1999); Aden   BMNH 1934.12   . 4.1, 1946.1.16.92 (paralectotypes), 1946.1.16.91 (lectotype); MNHN 1962.933 View Materials   ; Ghayl ba Wazir   BMNH 1962.934   ; 60 km N of Sa’da ZFMK 453591 View Materials   ; Suq Sharas ( Schätti & Gasperetti, 1994); Ta’izz FMNH 66156–60 View Materials   [66158*]; Wadi Tuban   ZFMK 43589 View Materials   ; Wadi Warazan & Wadi Zabid ( Schätti & Gasperetti, 1994)   .