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Epictia goudotii (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1844)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Epictinae, Epictini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Southern Caribbean Threadsnake, Black Blind Snake 
SynonymStenostoma Goudotii DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 330
Stenostomati goudoti — TSCHUDI 1845: 163.
Stenostoma goudoti — TSCHUDI 1846: 47
Stenostoma goudotii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1854
Stenostoma Goudoti — JAN 1861
Stenostoma godouti (sic) — JAN 1861: 188
Stenostoma goudottii — COPE 1876 (error typographicus)
Glauconia goudotii — BOULENGER 1893: 64
Glauconia albifrons — BOULENGER 1893: 63 (part)
Glauconia goudoti — WERNER 1917: 203
Leptotyphlops goudotii — AMARAL 1929: 139
Leptotyphlops albifrons — BRONGERSMA 1940: 117
Leptotyphlops goudoti —TAYLOR 1940: 540
Leptotyphlops albifrons albifrons — ROZE 1952: 156
Leptotyphlops albifrons goudotti (sic) — ROZE 1952: 156
Leptotyphlops albifrons margaritae ROZE 1952: 154
Leptotyphlops goudotii goudotii — PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 169
Stenostoma albifrons — SAVAGE 1970: 279.
Leptotyphlops goudotti goudotti (sic) — LANCINI 1979: 170
Leptotyphlops margaritae — HUBER et al., 1986: 7–8.
Leptotyphlops goudotti (sic) — VILLA et al., 1988: 85 (part)
Leptotyphlops goudoti goudoti — SMITH & SMITH, 1993: 591
Stenostoma phenops — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 30–31.
Leptotyphlops albifrons magnamaculata — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops albifrons ater — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops ater — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops bakewelli — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops gadowi — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudotii ater — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudotii bakewelli — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudotii goudotii — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudotii magnamaculatus — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudotii phenops — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops magnamaculata — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops phenops — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31
Leptotyphlops phenops bakewelli — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops phenops phenops — MCDIARMID et al., 1999: 31.
Leptotyphlops goudoti — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 619
Leptotyphlops goudotii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 30
Epictia goudotii — ADALSTEINSSON et al. 2009
Epictia goudotti (sic) — UGUETO & RIVAS 2010: 333
Tricheilostoma goudotii — MEDINA-RANGEL 2011: 963.
Epictia albifrons — POWELL et al., 2011: 83.
Leptothyphlops (sic) sp. — ROMERO-PÉREZ, 2011: 126 (two col. photos). Epictia goudotii goudotii — VALENCIA, 2012: 8.
Crishagenus goudotii — HOSER 2012: 34.
Epictia goudoti — MUMAW et al., 2015: 294
Epictia albifrons — BARRIO-AMORÓS & ORTIZ 2015: 88.
Epictia goudotii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 277
Epictia goudotii — MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2016 
DistributionColombia (Atlántico, Cesar, Cundinamarca, La Guajira, Magdalena, Meta, Santander, Tolima, and Isla Salamanca, elevation 0–1,280 m), Venezuela (Anzoátegui, Aragua, Carabobo, Distrito Federal, Falcón, Lara, Monagas, Nueva Esparta: Isla Margarita, Portuguesa, Sucre, Vargas, and Yaracuy, elevation 0–800 m);
Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, elevation 0–240 m)

Type locality: “la vallée de la Magdeleine, à la Nouvelle-Grenade” [= lower Río Magdalena Valley, Departamento de Magdalena, Colombia, ca. 9–11°N, 74–75°W, elevation ca. 25–100 m asl].  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 1068 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Epictia goudotii is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: snout truncate in dorsal and ventral view, rounded slightly acuminate in lateral view; supraocular present, not in contact with first supralabial; supraocular abruptly longer than frontal; rostral scale triangular in dorsal view; first supralabial very short and not reaching eye level; ocular hexagonal with straight shape at the eye level; base of ocular scale expanded; temporal indistinct; fused caudals absent; interoccipital indistinct from dorsal scales; two supralabials (1+1); four infralabials; 227–260 middorsal scales; 213–234 midventral scales; 12–16 subcaudal scales; 10 scales around the middle of tail; rostral white pigmented as apical spine or brownish as head coloration; seven dorsal scale rows with dark brown to brown center and lighter border forming longitudinal zig-zag lines; seven ventral scale rows uniformly brown.

Diagnosis. Epictia goudotii, along with E. magnamaculata and E. phenops, are the three species of the E. goudotii complex under study herein that have a frontal (prefrontal) scale. Epictia goudotii differs from E. magnamaculata in having the pale snout spot very indistinct to distinct, with that spot usually confined to the rostral scale when distinct, and the pale tail spot nearly absent to indistinct (versus distinct pale snout spot almost always extending onto the adjacent edges of the upper nasal scales and the pale tail spot always distinct in E. magnamaculata). Epictia goudotii differs from E. phenops in having the pale tail spot nearly absent to indistinct, that spot almost always larger dorsally than ventrally, covering 1–4 scales dorsally and 0–1 scales ventrally (versus pale tail spot usually distinct and larger ventrally than dorsally, covering 0–1 scales dorsally and 7–15 scales ventrally in E. phenops). Epictia goudotii differs further from E. ater and E. bakewelli, the two species that lack a frontal (prefrontal) scale (= have rostral-frontal fusion) as follows: from E. ater in having the pale tail spot almost always larger dorsally than ventrally (versus tail spot, when present, much larger ventrally than dorsally in E. ater); from E. bakewelli in having the ventral surfaces about the same color as the dorsal surfaces (versus ventral surface of head and anterior third of venter distinctly paler than adjacent dorsum in E. bakewelli) [MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2016: 14].

Diagnosis: (1) scale row formula = 14-14-14; (2) midtail scale rows = 10; (3) total length = 73–164 (x– = 110.2) mm, (4) total middorsals = 227–260 (x– = 247.8); (5) subcaudals = 11–16 (x– = 13.8); (6) relative body pro- portion = 48–76 (x– = 59.8); (7) relative tail length = 3.5%–6.6% (x– = 4.7%); (8) relative tail width = 2.0–3.9 (x– = 3.3); (9) relative rostral width = 0.42–0.60 (x– = 0.50); (10) relative eye size = 0.36–0.44 (x– = 0.39); (10) rostral tri- angular with rounded apex; (11) supralabials 2, small anterior supralabial not or barely reaching lower level of eye; (12) frontal discrete, separate from rostral, subhexagonal in shape; (13) supraoculars large and pentagonal, twice as broad as deep, with posterior borders parallel to those of supranasals; (14) widest anteriormost vertebral scale 5th; (15) parietals deeper than occipitals, oriented transversely; (16) infralabials 4; (17) cloacal shield subtriangular in shape; (18) head brown, lacking a pale rostral spot; (19) dorsum uniform brown, sometimes with narrow, pale scale edges (no stripes); (20) venter uniform pale yellow with diffuse brown vermiculations on each scale; (21) midbody stripe formula (U or O) and middorsal pattern (U or O); (22) tail with a pale terminal spot covering the 0–3 (x– = 0.5) dorsal scales and 0–2 (x– = 0.7) ventral scales (ventral/dorsal ratio 1.4); and (23) caudal termination a compressed cone (Wallach 2016: 311). 
CommentSynonymy: after Wallach 2016. See this paper for more complete chresonomy and references. Mumaw et al. (2016) removed Stenostoma fallax Peters from the synonymy of E. goudotii and recognized E. fallax as the name for the population occurring in northern Venezuela. Wallach 2016: 315 agrees with this assessment; however, he had only one specimen for his analysis and no molecular analysis seems to have been done.

Subspecies: Leptotyphlops goudotii ater has been revalidated and elevated to species status by SAVAGE 2002. L. g. bakewelli and L. g. phenops also have been elevated to full species status.

Distribution: Not in Central America, including Mexico (Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Tamaulipas), Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama (Wallach 2016, MATA-SILVA et al. 2015). See map in MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2016: Fig. 4. Epictia goudotii previously was considered to inhabit southern Mexico; Central America, including Panama (Smith, 1958b); northern South America, including Colombia, Venezuela, and Trinidad; the offshore islands of Cozumel (Mexico); the Bay Islands [Barbareta, Guanaja, Roatán, and Utila], Cayos Cochinos [Cayo Cochino Grande, Cayo Cochino Pequeño], and Swan Islands [Cisne] (Honduras); Bonaire (Netherlands Antilles); San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia); and Margarita (Venezuela) (Peters et al., 1970; Hahn, 1980; McDiarmid et al., 1999). This species also was reported from Antigua, Grenada, and Watling’s Island in the Caribbean (Barbour, 1930), but these records have been discounted (Powell and Henderson, 2012), and a record for the Suma Islands (Hahn, 1980; McDiarmid et al., 1999) that likely refers to the Exuma Islands in the Bahamas, as once they were called Yumey and Suma (, also is not substantiated. Whether the range of E. goudotii extends to include Trinidad remains to be seen (Murphy, 1997; Boos, 2001), but considering the proximity to the mainland and the short time span since the sea level rise separated Trinidad from Venezuela, E. goudotii conceivably could be present (Wallach 2016: 313).

Habitat: In Colombia, Epictia goudotii occurs in shrubland and riverside woodland (Montero-Arias and Quintero-Corzo, 2015). In Venezuela, it inhabits tropical thorny mountains (Rivas-Fuenmayor and Oliveros, 1997), pine savanna (Suárez et al., 2002), and deciduous and semi-deciduous forests on Isla de Margarita (Rivas- Fuenmayor et al., 2005, Wallach 2016: 313). 
EtymologyThis patronym is named after the French explorer and naturalist Justin-Marie Goudot, who collected the holotype. From 1822 to 1842, he was a collector in Colombia (at that time known as New Granada) for the Paris Natural History Museum (MNHN). 
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