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Amerotyphlops tycherus (TOWNSEND, WILSON, KETZLER & LUQUE-MONTES, 2008)

IUCN Red List - Amerotyphlops tycherus - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Typhlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymTyphlops tycherus TOWNSEND, WILSON, KETZLER & LUQUE-MONTES 2008
Typhlops tycherus — MCCRANIE 2011: 58
Amerotyphlops tycherus — HEDGES et al. 2014
Typhlops tycherus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 773 

Type locality: road between San José de Los Andes and El Cedral (14°54.241’N, 88°05.489’W), 1550 m elevation, western slope of Montaña de Santa Bárbara, Parque Nacional Montaña de Santa Bárbara, Depto. Santa Bárbara, Honduras.  
TypesHolotype: UF 151797, adult female, collected 3 February 2008 by Laura E. Chakerian and Lorraine P. Ketzler, original field number JHT 2376 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Typhlops tycherus can be most readily distinguished from all other snakes in the mainland of the Western Hemisphere based on the number of scale rows around the body (22); all other Typhlops found in the mainland of the Western Hemisphere have 18–18–18 (T. amoipira, T. microstomus, T. paucisquamis, T. stadelmani, T. tenuis and T. yonenagae), 20–20–20 (T. brongersmianus, T. costaricensis, T. lehneri, T. reticulatus, and T. trinitatus), or 20–18–16 or 18–16–14 (T. minuisquamis). Of the Mesoamerican Typhlops, T. tycherus is further differentiated as follows: from T. costaricensis by having a well-defined pale yellowish gray to immaculate white venter (venter somewhat lighter but grading into dorsal coloration throughout most of the body with yellowish gray or unpigmented scales restricted to chin and throat and posterior portion of body, with scattered pale spots along the midventral line in T. costaricensis); from T. microstomus by having fewer dorsal scales between the rostral and tail tip (395, versus 487–566 in T. microstomus), a relatively longer tail (TL/TTL = 1.51, versus 0.37–1.36 in T. microstomus) and by lacking a subocular; from T. stadelmani in having more dorsal scales between the rostral and tail tip (395, versus 341–369 in T. stadelmani) and larger maximum total length (371 mm, versus 310 mm in T. stadelmani); and from T. tenuis in lacking spots on median dorsal scale rows (dorsal spots present on at least median scale rows in T. tenuis) and having larger maximum total length (371 mm, versus 326 mm in T. tenuis). Additional comparative data, measurements, and ratios for the Mesoamerican Typhlops are given in Table 1. From the South American species (other than T. lehneri, which has 18–18–18 scales around the body), T. tycherus is further distinguished by having a completely divided nasal with the suture contacting the rostral (nasal not completely divided in T. amoipira, T. brongersmianus, T. reticulatus, T. trinitatus, T. paucisquamis, and T. yonenagae). In the Western Hemisphere outside of Mesoamerica and South America, T. tycherus most closely resembles the 11 members of the T. biminiensis species group from the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands, and Cuba, from which it may be distinguished as follows: having 22–22–22 scales around the body (26–24–24 in T. arator and 20–20–20 in T. caymanensis) and 395 scales between rostral and tail tip (453–579 in T. anchaurus, T. anousius, T. biminiensis, T. contorhinus, T. epactius, T. notorachius, T. paradoxus, T. perimychus, and T. satelles).

Typhlops tycherus is distinguished from R. braminus by having 22–22–22 scales around the body (20–20–20 in R. braminus), more dorsal scales between rostral and tail tip (395, versus 290–338 in New World R. braminus), and larger maximum total length (371 mm, versus 173 mm in New World R. braminus). 
EtymologyThe specific name tycherus is derived from the Greek word “tycheros,” meaning “lucky,” and is given in reference to a remarkable string of providential events that preceded the acquisition of the holotype. 
  • Graboski R, Arredondo JC, Grazziotin FG, et al. 2018. Molecular phylogeny and hemipenial diversity of South American species of Amerotyphlops (Typhlopidae, Scolecophidia). Zoologica Scripta 48: 139– 156 - get paper here
  • Hedges, S.B., Marion, A.B., Lipp, K.M., Marin, J. & Vidal, N. 2014. A taxonomic framework for typhlopid snakes from the Caribbean and other regions (Reptilia, Squamata). Caribbean Herpetology 49: 1–61 - get paper here
  • McCranie J R 2011. The snakes of Honduras. SSAR, Salt Lake City, 725 pp.
  • McCranie, J.R. & Valdés Orellana, L. 2012. Typhlops tycherus Townsend, Wilson, Ketzler and Luque- Montes, 2008 (Squamata: Serpentes: Typhlopidae): Significant range extension for this Honduran endemic. Check List 8(6): 1308–1309 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Townsend, Josiah H.; Wilson, L.D.; Ketzler, L.P. & Luque-Montes, I.R. 2008. The largest blindsnake in Mesoamerica: a new species of Typhlops (Squamata: Typhlopidae) from an isolated karstic mountain in Honduras. Zootaxa 1932: 18–26 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
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