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Anilios obtusifrons ELLIS & DOUGHTY, 2017

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Blunt-snouted Blindsnake 
SynonymAnilios obtusifrons ELLIS & DOUGHTY in ELLIS et al. 2017 
DistributionAustralia (Western Australia)

Type locality: 23 km south of Kalbarri (27°55'19"S; 114°09'48"E), Western Australia.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: WAM R146400, female collected in 2001 by D. Algaba and B. Maryan. Paratypes (2). WAM R89435, male, Bluff Point, WA (27°51'S, 114°06'E); WAM R129778, female, 22 km south of Kalbarri, WA (27°53'52"S; 114°10'01"E). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A moderately long, slender Anilios to about 225 mm total length. Distinguished from all other Anilios by a combination of midbody scales in 18 rows, dorsal body scales 581–590, snout bluntly angular in profile, snout rounded in dorsal view, anterior rostral edge rounded and not hardened to form hook, nasal cleft originating from second supralabial, extending anteriorly to reach nostril and terminating midway between nostril and rostral scale, presence of a terminal tail spine, and colouration pale with anterior third slightly darker than posterior portion of body and lack of any black pigment on head, body or tail.

Comparison with other species. Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. can be distinguished from 33 of the 45 described Anilios species by the number of midbody scale rows (18 vs 16, 20, 22, and 24) which does not vary within any Anilios species. Of the 11 Anilios species that also possess 18 MBSR (i.e. A. affinis, A. aspina, A. chamodracaena, A. grypus, A. guentheri, A. howi, A. margaretae, A. micromma, A. systenos sp. nov., A. yampiensis and A. zonula), A. obtusifrons sp. nov. can be distinguished based on head rounded and faintly trilobed in dorsal view (vs strongly trilobed in dorsal view for A. margaretae; snout anterior to rostral-nasal suture in dorsal view bluntly rounded (vs tapering to a blunt point for A. systenos sp. nov.), the absence of a hardened anterior rostral edge forming a beak or hook (vs present in A. grypus and A. systenos sp. nov.), ovate rostral scale not narrowing anteriorly (vs elliptical in A. aspina, A. guentheri and A. howi), higher range of DBS (<560 in A. aspina, A. chamodracaena, A. howi, A. margaretae, A. micromma, A. yampiensis and A. zonula), origin of nasal cleft from second supralabial (vs preocular in A. yampiensis; first or preocular in A. grypus), dorsal termination of nasal cleft at mid-way between nostril and rostral scale (vs terminating at rostral and dividing nasal scale in A. affinis, A. grypus, A. howi, A. micromma, A. systenos sp. nov., A. yampiensis and A. zonula), nasal cleft not visible in dorsal view (vs visible for A. aspina and A. micromma), presence of a terminal tail spine (vs absent for A. aspina and A. zonula) and lack of any black colouration on head and/or tail (vs present for A. chamodracaena, A. grypus and A. guentheri).
Six species are known or considered to possibly occur in sympatry with the species: A. australis, A. grypus, A. hamatus, A. leptosoma, A. systenos sp. nov. and A. waitii. It differs from A. australis by its slender appearance (vs thicker, stouter appearance of A. australis), fewer MBSR (18 vs 22), higher DBS (581–590 vs 278–357); from A. hamatus by fewer MBSR (18 vs 22), higher DBS (581–590 vs 330–396), unhooked snout and lack of hardened anterior protrusion (vs strongly hooked hardened anterior rostral edge), and from A. waitii by fewer MBSR (18 vs 20) and snout not strongly trilobed (strongly so in A. waitii).
Within its known distribution, A. obtusifrons sp. nov. is most similar in appearance to A. leptosoma and A. systenos sp. nov. It differs from A. leptosoma by greater MBSR (18 vs 16), lower range of DBS (581–590 vs 583– 781) and termination of nasal cleft (midway between nostril and rostral vs rostral). Anilios obtusifrons sp. nov. is most similar in appearance to A. systenos sp. nov., differing by slightly lower range and average DBS (581–590, mean 586 vs 598–621, mean 609), shape of snout anterior to rostral-nasal suture in dorsal view (bluntly rounded vs tapering to a blunt point), absence of a slightly downward facing hardened anterior rostral edge and termination point of nasal cleft (midway between nostril and rostral vs at rostral). 
CommentKnown only from 3 specimens.

Habitat. R129778 was collected from open Acacia woodland and R146400 was collected from open Acacia shrubland with scattered mallee on brown loam substrate (Fig. 8 in Ellis et al. 2017). 
EtymologyFrom a combination of the Latin words obtusus meaning ‘blunt or dull’ and frons meaning ‘front’ in reference to the rounded or blunt appearance of the snout in dorsal and lateral view. 
References
  • ELLIS, RYAN J.; PAUL DOUGHTY, STEPHEN C. DONNELLAN, JULIE MARIN & NICOLAS VIDAL 2017. Worms in the sand: Systematic revision of the Australian blindsnake Anilios leptosoma (Robb, 1972) species complex (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae) from the Geraldton Sandplain, with description of two new species. Zootaxa 4323 (1): 001–024 - get paper here
 
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