Leptotyphlops aethiopicus, Published, 2007

Published, First, 2007, A revision of the genus Leptotyphlops in northeastern Africa and southwestern Arabia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae), Zootaxa 1408, pp. 1-78 : 38-40

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Leptotyphlops aethiopicus

sp. nov.

Leptotyphlops aethiopicus sp. nov. ( Plate 10 View PLATE 10 , Fig. 4)

Ethiopian worm snake

Glauconia emini View in CoL — Sternfeld, 1908: 239 (Lake Haramaya; Bulli Hill); Boulenger, 1915c: 643; Scortecci, 1939: 128 (Neghelli; Arero), 1943: 283 (Murle).

? Glauconia cairi — Boulenger, 1906: 441; Werner, 1907: 42 (part, Harrar).

Leptotyphlops emini — Parker, 1949: 20.

Leptotyphlops emini emini — Loveridge, 1957: 247 (part, footnote).

Leptotyphlops nigricans — Largen & Rasmussen, 1993: 325 (part).

Holotype. BMNH 1911.12 .13.17 from near Harrar [= Harar], Harerge Region, Ethiopia (09°18’N, 42°08’E, elevation ca. 2000 m), collected by Kristensen. GoogleMaps

Paratypes. BMNH 1911.12.13.18–19 with the same data as the holotype GoogleMaps ; BMNH 1976.685 — 15 km SE of Dire Dawa, Harerge Region , Ethiopia (09°30’N, 41°55’E, elevation 2000 m), collected by M. Largen, 16 April 1972 GoogleMaps ; BMNH 1977.2250 — 5 km W of Javello [=Yabelo], Sidamo Region , Ethiopia (04°55’N, 38°04’E, elevation 1900 m), collected by M. Largen, 17 May 1976 GoogleMaps ; MNHN 1906.45 View Materials — Harrar , Ethiopia View Materials .

Diagnosis. A member of the Leptotyphlops nigricans species group, closest to to L. emini , but distinguished therefrom by its high middorsal count (239–261), slender build (total length/ diameter ratio 61–77) and white tail tip ventrally.

Etymology. The specific name is derived from the Latin aethiopicus = of Ethiopia, as this species is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands.

Description (paratype variations in parentheses). Body cylindrical, with head and neck broadened and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly before a very small terminal spine.

Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.52–0.57 head width, mean = 0.55) and truncated, only slightly wider than supranasals anteriorly and not extending past a line connecting the eyes anteriorly, whereas the supranasals extend to a line connecting the eyes posteriorly, rostral lacking a preoral groove ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril midway between rostral and supranasal along nasal suture), small (moderate) anterior supralabial with width along lip equal to that of infranasal, large ocular with large eye centrally placed and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, anteriorly wedged between upper nasal and ocular, posteriorly wedged between hexagonal subequal frontal and postfrontal, which are larger than the supraocular, but smaller than the hexagonal interparietal, which is also larger than the interoccipital and the vertebral series of scales following it. Parietals oblique, subequal to the fused occipitals, in contact with the posterior supralabial. Temoral single. No mental, four infralabials.

Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 10 scale rows on the tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield, which is entire. Total middorsals 250 (243–261), subcaudals 24 (23–29).

Total length 145 mm; tail 13; diameter of body 2.2 mm.

Total length/diameter ratio 72 (62–77); total length/tail ratio 12.2 (10.1–12.9).

Dorsum and venter blackish-brown to dark brown except for the first infralabials, cloacal shield, and a patch of 14 (12–14) scales under the tail tip, which are white.

Size. Largest specimen (BMNH 1977.2250) 145 + 16 = 161 mm.

Habitat. When the holotype was collected there was probably some of the climax Juniperus woodland around Harer, but this whole area is now intensively cultivated. The climax vegetation southeast of Dire Dawa and near Yabelo would be Podocarpus forest.

Distribution. So far only recorded from the Ethiopian highlands east of the rift valley, 1900–2000 m, with an additional specimen (middorsals 239, subcaudals 22) from Marsabit in northern Kenya, 1700 m ( Plate 5 View PLATE 5 ).

Additional material. KENYA. Marsabit CAS 122975. No locality: NHCL 1549 (Scortecci).














Leptotyphlops aethiopicus

Published, First 2007

Leptotyphlops nigricans

Largen, M. J. & Rasmussen, J. B. 1993: 325

Leptotyphlops emini

Parker, H. W. 1949: 20

Glauconia emini

Scortecci, G. 1939: 128
Boulenger, G. A. 1915: 643
Sternfeld, R. 1908: 239

Glauconia cairi

Werner, F. 1907: 42
Boulenger, G. A. 1906: 441