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Anilios vagurima ELLIS, 2019

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAnilios vagurima ELLIS 2019 
DistributionAustralia: Western Australia

Type locality: Mornington Sanctuary, south central Kimberley region, Western Australia, Australia (-17.0338°S, 126.6537°E).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: Australia: Western Australia: WAM R163524, adult male collected on 21 October 2006. Collector unknown, donated to the WAM by R. Lloyd, 21 August 2008. Fixative unknown, stored in 70% ethanol solution at WAM.
 
DiagnosisDIAGNOSIS: A moderately slender and elongate Anilios to approximately 325 mm. Distinguished from all other congeners by a combination of midbody scales in 22 rows, 557 total dorsal scales, 542 dorsal body scales; snout moderately trilobed in dorsal view, bluntly rounded and elongate in profile; rostral scale narrowly bell-shaped, widest anteriorly at rostral-nasal suture, ~40% of head width, with posterior edge terminating well before eye line; nasal scale partially divided, offset nostril positioned slightly closer to rostral than preocular; nasal cleft originating at the second supralabial and arcs anterodorsally to the nostril and then posterodorsally to lie nearly parallel to rostral-nasal suture within the apex of nasal scale, where it is clearly visible in dorsal view; and contrasting dorsal and ventral colouration.

COMPARISON WITH OTHER SPECIES: Anilios vagurima sp. nov. differs from 36 of the 46 native Australian Anilios species and introduced Indotyphlops braminus by its number of MBSR (22 vs. 16, 18, 20 or 24), which does not vary within any Anilios species. Of the ten congeners with 22 MBSR (A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus, A. kimberleyensis, A. nigrescens, A. pilbarensis, A. robertsi, A. torresianus, A. troglodytes), A. vagurima can be diagnosed by a combination of the following; DBS 552 (vs. <525 in A. kimberleyensis or <450 in A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus, A. kimberleyensis, A. nigrescens, A. pilbarensis and A. torresianus), snout moderately trilobed in dorsal view (vs. weakly trilobed in A. endoterus, A. hamatus and A. pilbarensis or rounded in A. australis, A. kimberleyensis, A. nigrescens, A. robertsi, A. torresianus and A. troglodytes) and narrowly rounded in profile (vs. angular in A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus or beaked in A. pilbarensis), rostral scale bell- shaped, ~40% of head width (vs. broadly to narrowly subovate, circular or elliptical in A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus, A. kimberleyensis, A. nigrescens, A. pilbarensis, A. robertsi, A. torresianus, A. troglodytes), nasal scale partially divided vertically by nasal cleft (vs. divided in A. troglodytes and sometimes divided in A. endoterus) and unique origin (second supralabial vs. preocular in A. endoterus, A. nigrescens and A. pilbarensis or sometimes at junction of first and second supralabial in A. australis, A. hamatus and A. torresianus), path from nostril (extending dorso-posterior direction, nearly parallel to rostral-nasal suture vs. anterior or dorso-anterior direction towards rostral in A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus, A. nigrescens, A. pilbarensis, A. robertsi) and termination point (apex of nostril scale vs. nostril, midway between nostril and rostral or at rostral in A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus, A. nigrescens, A. pilbarensis, A. robertsi and A. troglodytes) of nasal cleft, and nasal cleft clearly visible in dorsal view (vs. only just in A. robertsi or not visible in A. australis, A. bicolor, A. endoterus, A. hamatus and A. pilbarensis).
Of the 11 Anilios species known to occur in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, A. vagurima can be diagnosed from nine (A. diversus, A. grypus, A. guentheri, A. howi, A. ligatus, A. micromma, A. unguirostris, A. yampiensis and A. zonula) in having 22 MBSR (vs. 18, 20 or 24). Of the two species in the region with 22 MBSR (A. kimberleyensis and A. troglodytes), A. vagurima differs from A. kimberleyensis in having moderately trilobed snout in dorsal view (vs. rounded), narrowly rounded in profile (vs. bluntly rounded), higher number of DBS (542 vs. <510), path of nasal cleft upwards and towards rostral slightly, almost parallel to rostral-nasal suture, terminating ~midway between rostral and preocular (vs. upwards and backwards and gradually closer to rostral-nasal suture towards terminus, with slightly recurved terminus towards rostral, terminating closer to rostral than preocular), nasal suture closest to rostral approximately midway between nostril and terminus (vs. at cleft terminus). It differs from A. troglodytes in having moderately trilobed snout in dorsal view (vs. rounded), fewer DBS (542 vs. >580), path of nasal cleft from nostril extending upwards and towards rostral slightly, almost parallel to rostral-nasal suture, terminating ~midway between rostral and preocular (vs. upwards and forwards to, or nearly to, rostral scale).
Within the Kimberley region of Western Australia, Anilios vagurima sp. nov. is most similar in appearance to A. kimberleyensis and A. unguirostris in general appearance. The type specimen of A. vagurima sp. nov. keys out to A. kimberleyensis using keys provided in Cogger (2018) and Storr et al. (2002); however, it is clearly distinguished from A. kimberleyensis as discussed above. With A. unguirostris, A. vagurima sp. nov. shares a moderately slender body form, contrasting dorsal and ventral colouration along body length and moderately trilobed snout in dorsal view; however, it differs in having fewer midbody scale rows (22 vs. 24), rounded snout lacking hook in profile (vs. hooked), nasal cleft originating from second supralabial (vs. first), from nostril extending upwards and backwards to top of head, parallel to rostral scale (vs. upwards and forwards to or nearly to rostral) and clearly visible from above (vs. not or scarcely). 
Comment 
EtymologyThe specific epithet vagurima (pronounced vah-goo- ree-mah, with accent on the second syllable) is formed from the Latin words vagus (wandering, stray) and rima (cleft, fissure), as in ‘wandering-cleft’, in reference to the wandering path and termination point of the nasal cleft diagnostic for the species. Used as a noun in apposition. 
References
  • Ellis, Ryan J. 2019. A typhlopid hotspot in the tropics: increased blindsnake diversity in the Kimberley region of Western Australia with the description of a new Anilios species (Serpentes:Typhlopidae). RECORDS OF THE WESTERN AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM 34: 031–037 - get paper here
 
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