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Amphisbaena prunicolor (COPE, 1885)

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata 
Common NamesPlum-colored Worm Lizard 
SynonymAporarchus prunicolor COPE 1885: 189
Amphisbaena prunicolor prunicolor— GANS 1966: 246
Amphisbaena prunicolor — PETERS et al. 1970: 35
Amphisbaena prunicolor— VANZOLINI 2002: 358
Amphisbaena prunicolor — GANS 2005: 19
Amphisbaena prunicolor — PEREZ et al. 2012 
DistributionN Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), SE Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul to Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro), Paraguay

Type locality: Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, probably Sao Joao do Monte Negro (”where the prinicpal collections were made by H. Smith”).  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 12969. 
DiagnosisOriginal description from COPE (1885): The genus [Aporarchus] has been defined in the key under the head of the species Anops kingii. It is simply Amphisbaena without preanal pores.
The only specimen on which the species rests is of smaller size than those which represent the species enumerated in the above table, excepting the A. occidentalis, which is the smallest of the genus.
Rostral plate scarcely visible from above ; common suture of nasals short; nasofrontals each as long as broad; frontals each longer than broad; a pair of well distinguished square parietals. Labial, 3-3, the third reaching the ocular, so that there is no subocular. No superciliary or preorbital plate. Three plates in the row from canthus oris to frontal plate. Symphyseal broader than long, truncate posteriorly; postsymphyseal broad as long, subcircular, each half bounded by the postgeneial, and first and second labials to an extent represented by the order of mention. Last inferior labial twice as long as deep. Annuli 186 on the body and 23 on the tail. Preanal scales eight, the row preceded by a groove which is wider than the others. Tail obtuse, caudal annuli entirely smooth.
Total length, M. .214 ; of head to canthus oris, .006 ; of tail, .029.
Color, uniform plum-color above and below, excepting the lower jaw, chin and part of pectoral region and a postanal crescent, which are white. All the grooves of the inferior surface are white also, so that the animal has a latticed appearance below.

Diagnosis. Amphisbaena prunicolor is distinguished from other Amphisbaena species by the following combination of characters: (1) rounded snout; (2) nasal shields in contact on the dorsal portion of head; (3) caudal autotomy externally visible; (4) plain segments in the tip of the tail; (5) four precloacal pores; (6) 3/3 supralabial and 3/3 infralabial shields; (7) 181–215 body annuli; (8) 18–24 caudal annuli; (9) 10–17 dorsal and 14–20 ventral segments in the midbody annulus; (10) presence of the postmalar row; (11) brown-purplish colouration, checkerboard pale ventral pattern [from PEREZ et al. 2012].

Comparison. Amphisbaena prunicolor can be distinguished from the species in the A. darwini complex, mainly by having a dorsal brown-purplish colouration and a ventral pale checkerboard pattern (vs. ventral uniformly coloured). Differs from the species formerly considered belonging to the genus Anops by having a rounded-head (vs. keeled-head). Differs from A. angustifrons by having caudal autotomy (vs. lacking caudal autotomy). Differs from A. leeseri by having four precloacal pores (vs. two precloacal pores). Differs from A. trachura by having plain segments in the tip of the tail (vs. tuberculated segments). Differs from A. nigricauda by having 181–215 body annuli (vs. 222–226 body annuli). Differs from A. munoai by having the anterior portion of the head smooth (vs. concavity in the anterior portion of the head) and quadrangular-shaped frontal shields when considered together (vs. diamond-shaped). Differs from A. hogei and A. heterozonata by having a higher number of caudal annuli [18–27] (vs. smaller number of caudal annuli [15–19 in A. hogei and 15–18 in A. heterozonata]). Differs from A. darwini by having segments uniformly pigmented (vs. segments more pigmented in the anterior portion). It also differs from A. albocingulata by having the posmalar row (vs. lacking posmalar row) [from PEREZ et al. 2012]. 
CommentSubspecies: Amphisbaena prunicolor albocingulata BOETTGER 1885 is not considered as a valid species.

Synonymy: Boulenger (1885) synonymized Aporarchus prunicolor to Amphisbaena darwini, based on the evidence that the holotype was a young specimen in which the pores are undistinguishable (or absent), observation also seen in young specimens of A. darwini by Boulenger (1885).

Type Species: This species is the type species of the genus Aporarchus which is distinguished from Amphisbaena only by the lack of precloacal pores. 
  • Alvarez B B 1996. Geographic Distribution. Amphisbaena prunicolor prunicolor. Herpetological Review 27 (1): 31 - get paper here
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; LORENA ELIZABETH MARTINEZ & MARIANA MORANDO 2013. Checklist of lizards and amphisbaenians of Argentina: an update. Zootaxa 3616 (3): 201–238
  • Boettger, O. 1885. Liste von Reptilien und Batrachiern aus Paraguay. Zeitschr. Naturw. 58 (3): 213-248 - get paper here
  • Cacciali, Pier; Norman J. Scott, Aida Luz Aquino Ortíz, Lee A. Fitzgerald, and Paul Smith 2016. The Reptiles of Paraguay: Literature, Distribution, and an Annotated Taxonomic Checklist SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM OF SOUTHWESTERN BIOLOGY, NUMBER 11: 1–373 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1885. Twelfth contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22: 167-194 [1884] - get paper here
  • Entiauspe-Neto, Omar Machado; Tângela Denise Perleberg and Marco Antonio de Freitas 2016. Herpetofauna from an urban Pampa fragment in southern Brazil: composition, structure and conservation Check List 12(5): 1964 - get paper here
  • Gans, C. 2005. CHECKLIST AND BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AMPHISBAENIA OF THE WORLD. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 289: 1-130
  • Montero, Ricardo and Jorge Céspedez 2002. New two-pored Amphisbaena (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) from Argentina. Copeia 2002 (3): 792-797 - get paper here
  • PEREZ, RENATA; SÍRIA RIBEIRO & MÁRCIO BORGES-MARTINS 2012. Reappraisal of the taxonomic status of Amphisbaena prunicolor (Cope 1885) and Amphisbaena albocingulata Boettger 1885 (Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zootaxa 3550: 1–25 - get paper here
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Part II Lizards and Amphisbaenians. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
  • Ribeiro, S.; Vaz-Silva, W. & Santos Jr, A.P. 2008. New pored Leposternon (Squamata, Amphisbaenia) from Brazilian Cerrado. Zootaxa 1930: 18–38 - get paper here
  • Souza Filho, Gilberto Alves de; Fernanda Stender de Oliveira 2015. Squamate reptiles from Mauá Hydroelectric Power Plant, state of Paraná, southern Brazil. Check List 11 (6): 1800 - get paper here
  • Strussmann, Christine & Tami Mott 2009. Sympatric amphisbaenids from Manso Dam region, Mato Grosso State, Western Brazil, with the description of a new two-pored species of Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 44 (1): 37 – 46 - get paper here
  • Vanzolini, P.E. 2002. AN AID TO THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN SPECIES OF AMPHISBAENA (SQUAMATA, AMPHISBAENIDAE). Pap. Avul. Zool., Sao Paulo 42(15):351-362 - get paper here
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