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Leptotyphlops nigroterminus BROADLEY & WALLACH, 2007

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Leptotyphlopini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Black-tip worm snake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops nigroterminus BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 40
Glauconia signata — STERNFELD 1910: 13 (part.)
Leptotyphlops conjuncta — VESEY-FITZGERALD 1958: 35
Leptotyphlops scutifrons — SPAWLS et al. 2001: 299 (part)
Leptotyphlops nigroterminus — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Leptotyphlops nigroterminus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 369
Leptotyphlops nigroterminus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 370 
DistributionSW Kenya, W Tanzania, 1000-1600 m elevation.

Type locality: Karema, eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, Mpanda District, Rukwa Region, Tanzania (06°50’S, 30°50’E, elevation 950 m).  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 54813, a male from collected by C.J.P. Ionides, 7 July 1956. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Apart from its distinctive skull, with a rhombic postparietal bone and paired parietals (Plate 4, Fig. 2A in BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007), this unique form differs from all other African species in its light brown colouration with the distal portion of the tail black. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Description (paratype variations in parentheses). Body cylindrical, with head and neck broadened and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly to a small terminal spine.
Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.53–0.67 head width, mean = 0.59), fused with the frontal, unguiform, extending well beyond the level of the eyes, a preoral groove present ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril midway between rostral and supralabial along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial with width along lip twice that of infranasal, large but narrow ocular, and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, anteriorly wedged in between supranasal and ocular, posteriorly in straight contact with the hexagonal postfrontal, which is subequal in size to the supraoculars, interparietal and interoccipital. Parietals oblique and in contact with the posterior supralabials. Occipitals not fused (fused in all 5 paratypes). Temporal single. No mental, four infralabials.
Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 12 rows on the tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield, which is entire (tail rows 12 in the allotype, 10 in the four paratypes). Total middorsals 236 (228 in other male, 260–300 in females); subcaudals 23 (27 in other male; 25–27 in females).
Total length 159 mm, tail 12 mm; midbody diameter 3.5mm.
Total length/diameter ratio 45 (46–84); total length/tail ratio 13.2 (11.7–14.8).
Middorsal seven scale rows medium brown, rostral and dorsal tail blackish-brown, paler brown ventrally,
distal half of tail with black ring (in the smallest specimen of 82 mm total length only the extreme tip of the tail is black, in the other paratypes the distal third of tail has black ring). (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Size. Largest specimen (MCZ 52634 — Manyoni, Tanzania) 180 + 13 = 193 mm. (Broadley & Wallach 2007) 
CommentHabitat: The habitat in western Tanzania is miombo woodland, but in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya the vegetation is a mosaic of evergreen bushland and secondary Acacia wooded grassland. 
EtymologyThe specific name is derived from the diagnostic black tail tip; from the Latin niger = black and terminus = tip. 
  • Adalsteinsson, S.A.; Branch, W.R.; Trapé, S.; Vitt, L.J. & Hedges, S.B. 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of snakes of the Family Leptotyphlopidae (Reptilia, Squamata). Zootaxa 2244: 1-50 - get paper here
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Wallach, V. 2007. A revision of the genus Leptotyphlops in northeastern Africa and southwestern Arabia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae). Zootaxa 1408: 1–78 - 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
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1910. Die Fauna der deutschen Kolonien: Die Schlangen Deutsch-Ostafrikas. Berlin, R. Friedländer & Sohn, (3)2, iv + 47 pp.
  • Vesey-Fitzgerald, D.F. 1958. The snakes of Northern Rhodesia and the Tanganyika borderlands. Proceedings & Transactions of the Rhodesia Scientific Association (Salisbury), 46: 17–102.
  • 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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