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Anilios australis GRAY, 1845

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesSouthern Blind Snake 
SynonymAnilios australis GRAY 1845: 135
Onychocephalus verticalis SMITH 1846 (fide STORR 1981)
Typhlops preissi JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1860 (fide BOULENGER 1893)
Typhlops preyssi — JAN 1861 (nomen incorrectum)
Onychocephalus macrurus PETERS 1860 (fide BOULENGER 1893 and STORR 1981)
Typhlops australis — BOULENGER 1893: 35
Typhlops verticalis — BOULENGER 1893: 32
Typhlops australis — WAITE 1918: 28
Ramphotyphlops australis — ROBB 1966: 675
Typhlops verticalis — FITZSIMONS 1966
Typhlina australis - MCDOWELL 1974: 35
Ramphotyphlops australis — STORR 1981: 238
Ramphotyphlops australis — COGGER et al. 1983: 195
Ramphotyphlops australis — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984: 105
Sivadictus australis — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 41
Sivadictus preissi — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 41
Ramphotyphlops australis — MCDIARMID et al. 1999: 57
Ramphotyphlops australis — COGGER 2000: 589
Ramphotyphlops australis — STORR et al. 2002: 18
Ramphotyphlops australis — BRANCH & BAUER 2005
Austrotyphlops australis — WALLACH 2006
Ramphotyphlops australis — WILSON & SWAN 2010: 40
Libertadictus australis — HOSER 2012: 22
Ramphotyphlops australis — MARIN et al. 2013
Libertadictus (Pattersontyphlops) affinis — HOSER 2013: 45
Ramphotyphlops australis — WILSON & SWAN 2013: 438
Anilios australis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 36
Anilios australis — HEDGES et al. 2014
Anilios australis — PYRON & WALLACH 2014
Ramphotyphlops australis — COGGER 2014: 796 
DistributionAustralia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia)

Type locality: Western Australia (lectotype) Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionoviparous. 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.10.61 (designated by COGGER 1983)
Paralectotype: BMNH 1946.1.11.14 (=Anilios endoterus) (by subsequent designation of lectotype Cogger et al. 1983) 
CommentSynonymy: Ramphotyphlops/Onychocephalus macrurus PETERS 1860 has been listed as valid species by BAUER 1995, although he states that it has been regarded as a doubtful species by ROUX-ESTÈVE 1974 and as incertae sedis by HAHN 1980. Onychocephalus bicolor PETERS 1858: 509 (= Ramphotyphlops bicolor) has been removed from the synonymy of R. australis by Rabosky et al. (2004). Gray 1845: 135 also cites himself as using Typhlops australis GRAY 1838, citing “The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror”.

Type species: Anilios australis GRAY 1845: 135 is the type species of the genus Anilios GRAY 1845, by subsequent designation by Stejneger (1904:683).

Taxonomy (genera): Anilios was separated from Ramphotyphlops on the basis of molecular analyses (Hedges et al. 2014; Pyron & Wallach 2014), which recovered Anilios as sister to Acutotyphlops with Ramphotyphlops as outgroup to these. While Acutotyphlops is diagnosable as morphologically distinct from Anilios, the latter genus has not been able to be distinguished from Ramphotyphlops on morphological criteria. Pyron and Wallach (2014), who provide the most detailed morphological comparison, diagnose both Ramphotyphlops and Anilios as being distinguished from all other typhlopoids by a protrusible hemipenis, retrocloacal sacs, and absence of a frontorostral and paired prefrontal scales. The remaining characters mentioned for both genera, including both internal and external features, show extensive overlap between the two genera (for a more detailed discussion see SHEA 2015).

Diagnosis (genus). Species of Anilios have (1) eye, distinct, (2) snout, rounded or beaked (rarely acuminate), (3) head scale arrangement, non-circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, completely or incompletely divided, (6) nasal suture origin, 2nd supralabial (sometimes 1st, 1/2 suture, 2/preocular suture, or preocular), (7) suboculars or subpreoculars, absent, (8) postoculars, 2 (rarely 1, 3, or 4; average, 2.21), (9) preocular-labial contact, supralabials 2 & 3, (10) midbody scale rows, 16–24 (average, 20.1), (11) scale row reduction, absent (rarely present), (12) total scale rows, 278–750 (average, 466), (13) caudals, 8–36 (average, 15.0), (14) maximum total length, 122–750 (average, 353) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 20–134 (average, 55.8), (16) total length/tail length, 15–112 (aver- age, 49.7), (17) dorsal color, usually brown (sometimes cream, tan, pinkish, grey, or yellowish), (18) ventral color, usually white, cream, or yellowish, (19) dorsum darker than venter, (20) overall, usually patternless or sometimes with longitudinal lines (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support (Figs. 1–2).

From other genera of Asiatyphlopinae, Anilios differs from Acutotyphlops in lacking a frontorostral and from Cyclotyphlops in having non-circular head scales (versus circular arrangement). It differs from Grypotyphlops in lacking subocular scales. It differs from Asiatyphlops, Cyclotyphlops, Malayotyphlops, Indotyphlops, and Xeroty- phlops in having more total scale rows (466 versus 294–367, averages). It differs from other genera except Indo- typhlops in having a thin body (TL/MBD = 55.8 versus 35.1–46.6 in those other genera; averages). It differs from Sundatyphlops and Ramphotyphlops in having relatively short tails (TL/TA = 49.7 versus 31.8–33.3). [HEDGES et al. 2014: 33]. For an alternative diagnosis see PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 61. 
EtymologyThe derivation of the generic name Anilios was not provided by Gray (1845), although Savage and Boundy (2012) suggest it was derived from the Greek ἀν- (lacking) + ἠέλιος (helios, the sun), in reference to the below-ground lifestyle of these snakes. If so, it would be masculine, like Typhlops. Even if it was not derived from these roots (and many of Gray’s names do appear to be meaningless), Gray’s original description suggests a masculine gender for the name. He included six species in the genus. Four of the species names are either genitives (Leachii), based on nouns (ruficauda), or are adjectives that do not differ in termination in male or female gender (australis, nigrescens). The last two names, however, are adjectival, and both were given masculine terminations: ater and squamosus (SHEA 2015). 
References
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. & Bauer, Aaron M. 2005. The herpetological contributions of Sir Andrew Smith. SSAR, 80 pp.
  • Cogger H.G., Cameron EE & Cogger HM 1983. Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 1: AMPHIBIA AND REPTILIA. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Douglas, D.A.; Janke, A. & Arnason, U. 2006. A mitogenomic study on the phylogenetic position of snakes. Zoologica Scripta 35: 545–558
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1966. A check-list, with syntopic keys, to the snakes of southern Africa. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 25 (3): 35-79 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - 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
  • Hoser, R.T. 2012. A review of the extant scolecophidians (“blindsnakes”) including the formal naming and diagnosis of new tribes, genera, subgenera, species and subspecies for divergent taxa. Australasian J. Herpetol. 15: 1–64. - get paper here
  • Hoser, R.T. 2013. The description of new snake subgenera, species and subspecies from Australia (Squamata: Serpentes). Australasian J. Herpetol. 16: 39–52
  • Jan, G. 1860. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 1. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1861. Bemerkungen über die Typhlopiden. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 21: 1–7
  • Jan, G. 1864. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 4. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Marin, J., Donnellan, S.C., Hedges, S.B., Puillandre, N., Aplin, K., Doughty, P., Hutchinson, M.N., Couloux, A. & Vidal, N. 2013. Hidden species diversity of Australian burrowing snakes (Ramphotyphlops). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, doi: 10.1111/bij.12132 - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • McDowell, S. B. 1974. A catalogue of the snakes of New Guinea and the Solomons, with special reference to those in the Bernice P. Bishop Museum. Part l. Scolecophidia. Journal of Herpetology 8 (1): 1-57 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1860. Über eine neue zu der Gattung Onychocephalus gehörige Wurmschlange, Onychocephalus macrurus, und Vergleich mit den bisher von dieser Gattung bekannt gewordenen Arten. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1860 (Februar): 77-83 - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1865. [Hr. W. Peters lieferte einen ferneren Nachtrag zu seiner Abhandlung über Typhlopina]. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1865 (Juni): 259-263 - get paper here
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081
  • Robb,J. 1966. The generic status of Australasian typhlopids (Reptilia: Squamata). Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (13) 9: 675-679
  • Savage, J.M. & Boundy, J. 2012. On the type species of the snake generic name Anilios Gray, 1845 (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Herpetological Review 43: 537–538
  • Shea, G.M. 1999. Waite’s blind snakes (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae): identification of sources and correction of errors. Rec. Austral. Mus. 51 (1): 447-450 - get paper here
  • Shea, G.M. 2015. A new species of Anilios (Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from Central Australia Zootaxa 4033 (1): 103–116 - get paper here
  • Smith,A. 1846. Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa, Reptilia. Smith, Elder, and Co., London - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1981. The genus Ramphotyphlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) in Western Australia. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 9 (3): 235-271 - get paper here
  • Storr, G.M., Smith, L.A. & Johnstone, R.E. 2002. Snakes of Western Australia, Revised edition. Perth: Western Australian Museum, xiii + 309 pp
  • Waite, E. R. 1918. Review of the Australian blind snakes. Rec. South Austral. Mus. 1: 1-34
  • Wallach, V. 2006. The nomenclatural status of Australian Ramphotyphlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Bull. Maryland Herp. Soc 42 (1): 8-24
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Wells R W; Wellington C R 1984. A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology 1 (3-4): 73-129 [1983]
  • Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985. A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series, (1):1-61. - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Wilson,S. & Swan, G. 2013. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 4th ed. New Holland Publishers, 592 pp.
 
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