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Cathetorhinus melanocephalus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1844

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Higher TaxaGerrhopilidae, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common Names 
SynonymCathetorhinus melanocephalus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 270
Typhlops (Typhlina) melanocephalus — JAN 1860
Typhlops (Cathetorhinus) melanocephalus — JAN 1863: 10
Typhlops melanocephalus — BOULENGER 1893: 15
Typhlops melanocephalus (incertae sedis) — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 126
Cathetorhinus melanocephalus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 148
Ramphotyphlops melanocephalus — HEDGES et al. 2014
Cathetorhinus melanocephalus — PYRON & WALLACH 2014 
DistributionPossibly from Mauritius, but see comment

Type locality: "Nous ignorons la patrie de ce Scolecophide" [Unknown].  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 0138, adult male 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Cathetorhinus can be distinguished from all other typhlopoids by the combination of a T-II SIP and absence of preocular (fused with nasal). Small-sized (total length 183 mm), slender-bodied (length/width ratio 92) snakes with 18 scale rows throughout, 525 total middorsals, moderate tail (2.7% of total length) with 20 subcaudals (length/width ratio 2.5), and minute apical spine. Dorsal head profile bluntly rounded, lateral profile pointed with a ventral rostral keel that terminates in a blunt point, large oval rostral (0.71 head width), eye discernible as a faint eyespot, and postocular single. Coloration of head in preservative is blackish-brown, dorsum tan with lighter venter [PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 44] 
CommentSynonymy: Cathetorhinus may belong to Rhinotyphlops (Wallach, pers. comm.). Cathetorhinus (and therefore C. melanocephalus) has been synonymized with Rhinotyphlops by ROUX-ESTÈVE 1974.

Distribution: Wallach and Pauwels (2008) commented that “the provenance of this species remains unknown: it is certainly Old World, and may be from (in order of probability) Timor, Australia, Mauritius or Tenerife”; Cheke (2011) discussed an origin from Mauritius.

Type species: Cathetorhinus melanocephalus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 270 is the type species of the genus Cathetorhinus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844.Cathetorhinus melanocephalus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 270 is also the type species of the genus Ramphotyphlops DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844. 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Cheke, A. 2010. Is the enigmatic blind-snake Cathetorhinus melanocephalus (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) an extinct endemic species from Mauritius? Hamadryad 35 (1):101-104 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1844. Erpetologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol.6. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 609 pp. - get paper here
  • Hedges, S.B., Marion, A.B., Lipp, K.M., Marin, J. & Vidal, N. 2014. A taxonomic framework for typhlopid snakes from the Caribbean and other regions (Reptilia, Squamata). Caribbean Herpetology 49: 1–61 - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1860. Iconographie générale des ophidiens. 1. Livraison. J.B. Bailière et Fils, Paris - get paper here
  • Jan, G. 1863. Elenco Sistematico degli Ofidi descriti e disegnati per l'Iconografia Generale. Milano, A. Lombardi. vii + 143 pp. - 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.
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081 - get paper here
  • Roux-Estève, R. 1974. Révision systématique des Typhlopidae d'Afrique. Reptilia. Serpentes. Mém. nation. Hist. nat., Paris, (sér.A.) 87: 1-313
  • 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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