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Argyrophis muelleri (SCHLEGEL, 1839)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Müller’s Blind Snake
G: Müllers Blindschlange 
SynonymTyphlops Mülleri SCHLEGEL 1839: 39
Typhlops nigro-albus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 295
Typhlops Mülleri — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 298
Argyrophis bicolor GRAY 1845: 136
Typhlops schneideri JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1863 (1860-1866)
Typhlops (Typhlops) Mülleri - JAN 1863
Typhlops (Typhlops) nigroalbus - JAN 1863: 12
Typhlops (Typhlops) Schneideri JAN 1863
Typhlops nigroalbus — BOULENGER 1893: 24
Typhlops muelleri - BOULENGER 1893: 25
Typhlops schneideri — BOULENGER 1893: 27
Typhlops kapaladua ANNANDALE 1905: 208
Typhlops mülleri — DE ROOIJ 1917: 12
Typhlops kapaladua — DE ROOIJ 1917: 9
Typhlops nigroalbus — DE ROOIJ 1917: 12
Typhlops diardi nigroalbus - SMITH 1923: 52
Typhlops diardi nigroalbus — SMEDLEY 1931: 49
Typhlops fusconotus BRONGERSMA 1934: 192
Typhlops diardi mulleri - BRONGERSMA 1934
Typhlops diardi muelleri — TWEEDIE 1950
Typhlops diardi muelleri — GRANDISON 1972: 83
Typhlops muelleri — MANTHEY & GROSSMANN 1997: 433
Typhlops muelleri — COX et al. 1998: 13
Asiatyphlops muelleri — HEDGES et al. 2014
Argyrophis muelleri — PYRON & WALLACH 2014
Typhlops muelleri — CHAN-ARD et al. 2015: 150 
DistributionMyanmar (= Burma), Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Singapore,
Indonesia (Sumatra, Bangka, Nias, Weh, Borneo).

Type locality: “Padang, Sumatra” (SCHLEGEL 1839)

Typhlops nigro-albus: Type locality: “Sumatra” (DUMERIL & BIBRON 1844)

Argyrophis bicolor: Type locality: “Singapore” (GRAY 1845)

Typhlops schneideri: Type locality: “Bangkok, Thailand” (JAN 1863)

Type locality: “Pinang, Malaya” (GUNTHER 1864)
Type locality: “Malay Archipelago, probabiy from Java” (Typhlops kapaladua ANNANDALE 1906)
Type locality: “Dore (= Manokawari), West New Guinea” (Typhlops fusconotus BRONGERSMA 1934) 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 
TypesHolotype: RMNH 3718. (SCHLEGEL 1839)
Holotype: MNHN = MHNP 6991 (DUMERIL & BIBRON 1844)
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.10.63. (GRAY 1845)
Holotype: MSNM (JAN 1863; destroyed according to HAHN 1980: 56)
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.11.59. (GÜNTHER 1864)
Holotype: Indian Museum, Calcutta. (Typhlops kapaladua ANNANDALE 1906) 
CommentSynonymy: following HAHN 1980.

Type species: Typhlops Mülleri SCHLEGEL 1839: 39 is the type species of the genus Argyrophis GRAY 1845; the species is also the type species of the genus Asiatyphlops HEDGES et al. 2014.

Diagnosis. Argyrophis can be distinguished from all other typhlopoids by the combination of the following characters: T-II, T-III, or T-V SIP and scale row reduction, and left lung present in Ar. diardii, Ar. muelleri, and Ar. siamensis. Small- to large-sized (total length 75–540 mm), stout- to slender-bodied (length/width ratio 24–71) snakes with 20–30 scale rows (with reduction), 246–402 total middorsals, short to moderate tail (1.0–3.6% total length) with 5–26 subcaudals (length/width ratio 0.4–2.0), and apical spine small or thorn-like. Dorsal and lateral head profiles rounded, moderate rostral (0.25–0.40 head width), preocular in contact with second and third supralabials, eye moderate with distinct pupil, and postoculars 2–3. Lateral tongue papillae present; vestigial left lung present, tracheal, cardiac and right lungs multicameral (with 23–38 + 3–10 + 2–12 foramina, respectively); testes unsegmented; hemipenis eversible, lacking retrocloacal sacs, and moderate rectal caecum (1.2–5.0% SVL). Coloration brown, reddish-brown, purplish-black or black dorsally, transiting to a lighter venter (beige, cream or white) or bicolored (with a sharp midlateral demarcation between dark dorsum and light venter), snout, labials, and chin sometimes light. [PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 53]

Diagnosis (Asiatyphlops). Species of Asiatyphlops have (1) eye, distinct (rarely indistinct), (2) snout, rounded, (3) head scale arrangement, non-circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, incompletely divided (sometimes completely divided), (6) nasal suture origin, 2nd supralabial, (7) suboculars or subpreoculars, absent, (8) postoculars, 2–3 (rarely, 4–5; average, 2.69), (9) preocular-labial contact, supralabials 2 & 3 (sometimes 3rd only), (10) midbody scale rows, 20–30 (average, 23.2), (11) scale row reduction, present (sometimes absent), (12) total scale rows, 246–520 (average, 339), (13) caudals, 5–26 (average, 11.1), (14) maximum total length, 130–430 (average, 243) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 26–70 (average, 35.2), (16) total length/tail length, 42–100 (average, 65.6), (17) dor- sal color, shades of brown (golden-brown, olive-brown, blackish-brown, yellowish-brown, grayish-olive, or blue), (18) ventral color, nearly always yellow or yellowish (white, cream, yellow, yellowish-tan, yellowish-brown, bright yellow, or pale brown), (19) dorsum darker than venter, (20) overall, uniform, but sometimes with a dark lineate pattern (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support (Fig. 1).
From other genera of Asiatyphlopinae, Asiatyphlops 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 Acutotyphlops, Malayotyphlops, and Grypotyphlops in having fewer average midbody scale rows (23.2 versus 26.8–30.4). It differs from Anilios, Grypotyphlops, and Sundatyphlops in having fewer total scale rows (339 versus 466–496, averages). It differs from Anilios, Grypotyphlops, Indotyphlops, Ramphotyphlops, Sundatyphlops, and Xerotyphlops in having a robust body (TL/MBD = 35.2 versus 45.5–57.6 in those other genera; averages). It differs from most genera except Grypotyphlops and Xerotyphlops in having a relatively short tail (TL/TA = 65.6 versus 31.5–51.0; averages). Compared with Indotyphlops, species of Asiatyphlops are larger (average of maximum TLs among species, 243 versus 175 mm), thicker-bodied (TL/MBD = 35.2 versus 57.6, averages), shorter-tailed (TL/TA = 65.6 versus 46.4, averages), always have >1 postocular scale (versus usually 1), and have more midbody scale rows (average, 23.2 versus 19.4). Also, they nearly always have yellow on the venter (versus lacking a yellowish venter in Indotyphlops, except one species). [HEDGES et al. 2014: 35] 
EtymologyNamed after Salomon Müller (1804-1864), a naturalist and taxidermist who collected animals in Indonesia for Schlegel.

The generic name is a masculine noun formed from the adjective asianus (a, um; i.e., ‘from Asia’) and the Greek noun typhlops (the blind).

The etymology of Argyrophis is unclear. Many names erected by J.E. Gray were apparently chosen for euphony but lack any substantial etymology (A.M. Bauer, pers. comm.). “-ophis” is the Greek word for snake. 
References
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  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Brongersma,L.D. 1934. Contributions to Indo-Australian herpetology. Zoologische Mededelingen 17: 161-251 - get paper here
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Van Dijk, Peter Paul; Jarujin Nabhitabhata & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 1998. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Ralph Curtis Publishing, 144 pp.
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  • Niyomwan, P.; Thirakhupt, K.; Nabhitabhata, J. 2001. A key to the blind snakes in Thailand. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 1(1):47-52.
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081
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