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Anomalepis mexicana JAN, 1860

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Higher TaxaAnomalepididae, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mexican Blind Snake 
SynonymAnomalepis mexicanus JAN in JAN & SORDELLI 1860-1866
Anomalepis mexicana — BOULENGER 1893: 58
Anomalepis dentatus TAYLOR 1939: 90
Anomalepis dentatus — TAYLOR 1951: 24
Anomalepis mexicanus — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 20
Anomalepis mexicanus — SMITH & SMITH 1976
Anomalepis mexicanus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 48
Anomalepis mexicanus — SAVAGE 2002
Anomalepis mexicanus — MCCRANIE 2011: 40
Anomalepis mexicanus — MCCRANIE 2015
Anomalepis mexicanus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 43
Anomalepis mexicana — BÖHME & DENZER 2019 
DistributionNicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia (Bolívar), possibly Peru (fide Kofron 1988)

Type locality: see comment

dentatus: Panama; Type locality: Barro Colorado Island.  
TypesHolotype: unlocated, MSNM (Milano, unknown fide Kofron 1988)
Holotype: MCZ 29220 [Anomalepis dentatus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): The blind worm snakes of this genus (four species) share the following diagnostic features that will separate them from the other three genera in the family: enlarged head scales, with those on the upper head surface forming polygonal plates; prefrontal plates meet on the midline to prevent any contact between the rostral and prefrontal; a roughly pentagonal frontal, with an ovate posterior margin. In addition there are 22 to 28 scale rows around the middle of the body, and the tail has a terminal spine. Typhlophis differs from Anomalepis by having small cycloid scales on the upper head surface so that prefrontal and frontal plates are not distinctive, but the tail terminates in a spine (Savage 2002: 553).

DIAGNOSIS (species): A tiny uniformly glossy brown snake, without enlarged ventral scales and with the minute eyes hidden under the head scales (Savage 2002: 554).

Description: “The 16 specimens are characterized by 258-299 dorsal scales, and a scale-row formula of (24-25-26)-(20-22-23-24)-(20-21-22). The population in Peru has more scales than the population in Central America. Dorsal scales in Central America number 258-274 (x̅ = 264.4, std. dev. = 7.0), and in Peru 265-299 (x̅ = 282.4, std. dev. = 11.7). The scale-row formula in Central America is (24-26)-(20-22-23)-(20-21-22) (most frequently 24-22-20), and in Peru (24-25-26)-(22-23-24)-(21-22) (most frequently 24-22-22). Specimens measure 82-164 mm total length. (Kofron 1988: 11)

Variation: Two specimens of A. mexicanus have aberrant head scales, KU 116883 from Panama and LSUMZ 32591 from Peru. In the first specimen the third labial scale on each side is fused with the scale normally above it; and in the latter the first labial is divided into two scales, one above the other. Also in LSUMZ 32591, some dorsal scales are larger than others, apparently because of fusions. (Kofron 1988: 11)

SIMILAR SPECIES: (1) Helminthophis frontalis has the head and neck area pinkish. (2) Liotyphlops albirostris has the snout or occasionally the whole head light. (3) Typhlops costaricensis has the venter yellow and 20 scales around mid-body. (4) Leptotyphlops ater has a light tail tip and 14 scale rows around midbody. (5) The caecilian genera (Dermophis, Gymnopis, and Oscaecilia) lack epidermal scales (Savage 2002: 554).

Comparisons: Vanegas-Guerrero et al. 2019 compare the 4 species of Anomalepis.

Description: McCranie 2011: 40 
CommentDistribution: The type locality (”Mexico”) is in error fide Kofron 1988. Not listed in LINER 1994.

This species has been known from only the type (fide TAYLOR 1939).

Type species: Anomalepis mexicanus JAN in JAN & SORDELLI 1860-1866 is the type species of the genus Anomalepis JAN 1860. The genus is also the type genus of the family Anomalepididae.

Phylogenetics: Miralles et al. 2018 showed that the Anomalepididae is a member of the Alethinophidia, not the Scolecophidia as previously thought. 
EtymologyNamed after the (erroneous) occurrence in Mexico (the original type locality).

The genus was named after the anomalous scales, Greek “lepis” (= scale). Genus names ending in -lepis are feminine (Böhme & Denzer 2019), hence the name needs to be mexicana. 
  • Böhme, W. & Denzer, W. 2019. Warum die Endungen adjektivischer Artnamen dem Geschlecht der Gattungsnamen angepasst werden müssen Sauria 41 (1): 55–62 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Carvajal-Cogollo, J.E.; L.E. Rojas-Murcia. & G. Cárdenas-Arévalo 2020. Reptiles del Caribe colombiano/ Reptiles of the Colombian Caribbean. Tunja: Editorial UPTC, 268 pp. - get paper here
  • González J, Medina-Rangel GF, Rojas-Murcia LE 2018. The first country record of the Mexican Blind Snake, Anomalepis mexicanus Jan, 1860 (Serpentes, Anomalepididae), in Colombia. Check List 14(6): 1047-1052 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1860. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 1. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Kofron, C. 1988. The central and south-american blindsnakes of the genus Anomalepis. Amphibia-Reptilia 9: 7-14 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G.; Quintana, A.Z.; Buitrago, F. & Diethert H. 2004. New and noteworthy records of amphibians and reptiles from Nicaragua. Salamandra 40 (1): 15-24 - get paper here
  • Liner, E.A. 1994. Scientific and common names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Herpetological Circular 23: 1-113
  • Marx,H. 1953. A new worm snake from Colombia, genus Anomalepis. Fieldiana: Zoology 34: 197-198 - 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
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Miralles, A. , Marin, J. , Markus, D. , Herrel, A. , Hedges, S. B. and Vidal, N. 2018. Molecular evidence for the paraphyly of Scolecophidia and its evolutionary implications. J. evol. Biol., doi: 10.1111/jeb.13373 - get paper here
  • Ray, Julie M. and Patty Ruback 2015. Updated checklists of snakes for the provinces of Panamá and Panamá Oeste, Republic of Panama. Mesoamerican Herpetology 2 (2): 168-188 - get paper here
  • Savage, J.M. 2002. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Costa Rica: A Herpetofauna Between Two Continents, Between Two Seas. University of Chicago Press, 934 pp. [review in Copeia 2003 (1): 205]
  • Solorzano, A. 2004. Serpientes de Costa Rica - Snakes of Costa Rica. Editorial INBio, Costa Rica, 792 pp.
  • Stickel, A.L., Abarca, J.G. & Pounds, J.A. 2017. Geographic Distribution: Anomalepis mexicanus (Mexican Blind Snake). Herpetological Review 48 (3): 589. - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier 2014. An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 186–202. - get paper here
  • Taylor,E.H. 1939. Two new species of the genus Anomalepis Jan, with a proposal of a new family of snakes. Proc. New England zool. Club 17: 87-96
  • Taylor,E.H. 1951. A brief review ot the snakes of Costa Rica. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 34 (1): 3-188 - 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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