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Afrotyphlops punctatus (LEACH, 1819)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Afrotyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Spotted Blind Snake 
SynonymAcontias punctatus LEACH in BOWDICH 1819: 493
Typhlops eschrichtii SCHLEGEL 1839: 37
Typhlops (Aspidorhynchus) Eschrichtii — FITZINGER 1843: 24
Ophthalmidion eschrichtii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 265
Onychophis punctata — GRAY 1845: 133
Onychocephalus nigrolineatus HALLOWELL 1848: 60
Typhlops hallowelli JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1864
Typhlops kraussi JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1864
Onychocephalus kraussi REICHENOW 1874: 291
Typhlops (Ophthalmidion) eschrichtii, var. intermedia — PETERS 1877: 614
Typhlops (Ophthalmidion) Eschrichtii — MÜLLER 1880: 140
Aspidorhynchus eschrichtii — PETERS 1881: 70
Typhlops (Ophthalmidion) kraussi — BOCAGE 1887: 180
Typhlops (Aspidorhynchus) Eschrichtii — BOETTGER 1888
Typhlops (Aspidorhynchus) eschrichti var. kraussi — BOETTGER 1889: 278
Typhlops punctatus — BOULENGER 1893: 42
Typhlops hallowelli — BOULENGER 1893: 40
Typhlops punctatus — SCHMIDT 1923: 45
Typhlops milleti CHABANAUD 1920
Typhlops punctatus punctatus — LOVERIDGE 1936: 19
Typhlops punctatus punctatus — LOVERIDGE 1955
Typhlops punctatus — VILLIERS 1956
Typhlops leprosus TAYLOR and WEYER 1958
Typhlops punctatus liberiensis — LAURENT 1964: 412
Typhlops hallowelli — HUGHES & BARRY 1969
Typhlops liberiensis — RÖDEL & MAHSBERG 2000
Typhlops punctatus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 114
Typhlops liberiensis — BRANCH & RÖDEL 2003
Rhinotyphlops punctatus — CHIRIO & INEICH 2006
Afrotyphlops punctatus — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2009
Typhlops punctatus — SEGNIAGBETO et al. 2012: 350
Afrotyphlops punctatus — HEDGES et al. 2014
Afrotyphlops punctatus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 351
Afrotyphlops punctatus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 16
Afrotyphlops punctatus — SENTER & CHIPPAUX 2022 
DistributionS Mauritania ?, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, S Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, SW Chad, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Uganda, SW Ethiopia, Bioko = Fernando Po I, N Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Sierra Leone, Guinea (Conakry), Republic of South Sudan (RSS) (SCHMIDT 1943), Tanzania (ROBERTSON et al. 1961), Liberia,
Angola (Hellmich 1957)

Type locality: Fanti, Ashanti, Ghana.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.11.47
Holotype: ANSP 3302 [Onychocephalus nigrolineatus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Species of Afrotyphlops have (1) eye, distinct, (2) snout, rounded (sometimes beaked or acuminate), (3) head scale arrangement, non-circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, incompletely divided (rarely complete), (6) nasal suture origin, 1st supralabial (sometimes 2nd supralabial or rarely rostral), (7) suboculars or subpreoculars, absent (rarely a subpreocular/intercalary present), (8) postoculars, 2–4 (rarely 5–7; average 3.70), (9) preocular-labial contact, supralabials 2 & 3 (rarely none, 1–2, 1–3, or 2), (10) midbody scale rows, 18–45 (average, 27.2), (11) scale row reduction, present (rarely absent), (12) total scale rows, 216–620 (average, 391), (13) caudals, 4–15 (average, 9.6), (14) maximum total length, 125–950 (average, 481) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 17–95 (average, 39.5), (16) total length/tail length, 33–152 (average, 60.8), (17) dorsal color, dark brown (sometimes yellow, bluish, reddish, or greenish), (18) ventral color, yellow, yellowish, cream, or white, (19) dorsum darker than venter, (20) overall, usually patternless, but sometimes with longitudinal lines (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support (Fig. 1).
From Letheobia, Afrotyphlops is distinguished by having a distinct eye (versus indistinct), lacking subocular scales (versus present), and having a dark (versus pale) dorsum. Species of Afrotyphlops also average larger in size and have more robust bodies, although there is variation in those traits. From Rhinotyphlops, Afrotyphlops is distinguished by its more rounded snout in lateral profile (versus beaked), except several species formerly in the genus Megatyphlops, fewer caudals (9.6 versus 14.5), and larger size (481 versus 323 mm average TL). [HEDGES et al. 2014: 29] For an alternative diagnosis see PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 48. 
CommentEcology: Morphological differentiation between congestus, liberiensis and punctatus is minor but they inhabit different habitats: savannah (punctatus), forest (congestus and liberiensis) according to BRANCH & RÖDEL 2003.

Subspecies: Afrotyphlops punctatus liberiensis (HALLOWELL 1848) has been elevated to full species status.

Synonymy: Acontias punctatus LEACH 1819 Acontias is pre-occupied by CUVIER 1817 (Scincidae).

Distribution: not corrected for removal of liberiensis. Not in Gabon according to PAUWELS & VANDE WEGHE 2008, not in Liberia nor Niger (L. Chirio, pers. comm., 23 Aug 2013).

Type species: Acontias punctatus LEACH in BOWDICH 1819 is the type species of the genus Afrotyphlops BROADLEY & WALLACH 2009.

Type genus: Afrotyphlops BROADLEY & WALLACH 2009 is the type genus of the subfamily Afrotyphlopinae HEDGES et al. 2014. For a diagnosis of the subfamily see HEDGES et al. 2014: 27. 
EtymologyNamed after the punctate pattern that many specimens show in this species.

The generic name is a masculine noun formed from the adjective africanus (a, um; i.e., ‘from Africa’) and the Greek noun typhlops (the blind). 
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