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Blanus cinereus VANDELLI, 1797

IUCN Red List - Blanus cinereus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaBlanidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mediterranean Worm Lizard
G: Maurische Netzwühle
D: Moorse Wormhagedis 
SynonymAmphisbaena Cinerea BAPTISTA 1783 (nomen nudum)
Amphisbaena reticulata THUNBERG in HOLMER 1787: 30 (nomen oblitum)
Amphisbaena Cinerea VANDELLI 1797: 69
Amphisbaena oxyura WAGLER 1824: 72
[Blanus] cinereus WAGLER 1830
Amphisbaena Cinerea — GERVAIS 1837
Amphisbaena cinerea — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 500
Blanus cinereus — GRAY 1865: 369
Amphisbaena cinerea — BOETTGER 1880
Blanus cinereus — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Blanus cinereus — VACONCELOS et al. 2006
Blanus mariae ALBERT & FERNÁNDEZ 2009
Blanus cinereus — KWET & TRAPP 2015
Blanus cinereus — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020 
DistributionPortugal (incl. Pessegueiro), Spain

Type locality: ‘‘Lusitanica’’ = Portugal; lectotype locality: São Bento, Lisboa (38.7115 N, −9.1547 E; WGS-84), Portugal.

mariae: S Portugal, S Spain, Gibraltar; Type locality: Faro region, Loulé (37º 08´N, -8º 02´W), Portugal.  
TypesNeotype: MB = MUHNAC 03-000375, adult male (designated by CERÍACO & BAUER 2018)
Lectotype: ANSP 9672, collected by Vandelli and exchanged from the museum at Lisbon plus others (fide GANS 2005) (designated by ALBERT & FERNANDEZ 2009 but invalidated by CERÍACO & BAUER 2018).
Holotype: ZMB 1389 [Amphisbaena rufa]
Holotype: MNCN 44638 Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales, Madrid, Spain. An adult female collected by Eva M. Albert and Jordi Bascompte on March 2002 [mariae] 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus). Snout rounded. Basipterygoid processes, partes posteriores choanarum and supratemporals present. Quadrate expanded proximally. Meckel's groove open. Dentition (number of premaxillary, maxillary, mandibular teeth) 7; 3-4; 7-8. One unpaired shield adjacent to the rostral (modified after Vanzolini 1951).

Diagnosis (mariae). The new species Blanus mariae is similar in external color and patterns to Blanus cinereus, but shows some different morphological characteristics and present genealogical concordance of the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA haplotypes. B. mariae is larger than its sister species; average SVL of adults 175 mm, with heads larger; average 7.4 mm and has more body annuli; average 116.6, but B. mariae has fewer dorsal and ventral segments (between 13-17 and 13-18 respectively) than B. cinereus. Color in live goes from pale pink to dark brilliant purple, with a reticulate pattern due to the intersegmental sutures. All plates of the body have the same dark purple color. Some head scales, specifically the prefrontal plate appeared slightly clearer, showing a pale pink. Coloration in preservative is reticulate mottling of brown and with the lateral sulci and the background of light beige. Usually the snout of some specimens in preservation is light beige. Genetically, both species are clearly different. The phylogenetic tree shows two well differentiate clades, forming reciprocally monophyletic units with high support of bootstrap and posterior probabilities values. The sequence divergence between B. cinereus and B. mariae in the mitochondrial gene ND4 is very high, from 10.5 to 12.4% The populations of the new species have five unique and different mitochondrial haplotypes from mitochondrial genes (GenBank accession number EF036215-EF036466, data not shown) and one unique diagnostic haplotype from the AUNL. No heterozygotes were found when AUNL was analyzed, suggesting no gene flow between B. cinereus and B. mariae. B. mariae differs from other congeneric in molecular features; from B. tingitanus in one single polymorphism and from B. mettetali in two nucleotides in AUNL data (Fig. 4). At morphological level, B. mettetali has between 8 and 10 cloacal pores, are clearly smaller (around 145 mm), with heads shorter (around 5.6 mm), with more body annuli (128.8 as average) and more number of ventral segments (between 17.8-17.5 as average) than B. mariae. B. tingitanus have the same number of precloacal pores than B. mariae (6), but is also smaller (between 152-157 mm as mean value) and with heads shorter (around 6 mm), B. tingitanus also have more body annuli than B. mariae ( between 124 and 125 as average).

Note: the diagnosis of B. mariae is quite vague and CERÍACO & BAUER 2018 synonymized it with B. cinereus. 
CommentSynonymy: Blanus mariae is a synonym of B. cinereus fide Ceríaco and Bauer (2018) and Speybroeck et al. 2020.

Distribution map in VACONCELOS et al. 2006, CERÍACO & BAUER 2018: 18 (blue dots). Not in Morocco (Martínez et al. 2019, and pers. comm. 18 Jan 2021).

Type species: Amphisbaena cinerea is the type species of the genus Blanus WAGLER 1830. Blanus is the type genus of the family Blanidae KEARNEY 2003.

Synonymy: Petition for suppression of the name Amphisbaena reticulata submitted by Gans, 1961b: 223. Nomen oblitum fide International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, 1961: art. 23b, and Gans 1984. 
EtymologyNamed after its color, Latin “cinis, cineris” = ash.

B. mariae was named in honor of Maria Rosario Tortajada Aguilar E.M.A.´s grandmother, who died in tragic accident years ago, for her constant support.

The genus was named after Greek blános (βλάνος) = blind. 
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