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Letheobia weidholzi WALLACH & GEMEL, 2018

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Typhlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesWeidholz’s Pink Blindsnake 
SynonymTyphlops weidholzi WEIDHOLZ 1941 (nom. nud.)
Letheobia weidholzi WALLACH & GEMEL 2018 
DistributionCameroon (Faro)

Type locality: Poli, Département de Faro, région du Nord, Cameroun (8° 27’ 16.4” N, 13° 15’ 33.7” e, elevation 525 m),  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: NMW 23492, collected by Alfred Weidholz, between 1938–1939. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Letheobia weidholzi can be separated from all other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: dorsal and lateral head profiles tapered or pointed with keratinous keel on rostral, lateral head shields obliquely oriented to the vertical, and more than 650 total middorsals. Additional characters distinguishing it from other Letheobia with pointed snouts are: inferior nasal suture in contact with sl 2, length/width ratio greater than 95, and absence of an apical spine. As to the assignment to the genus Letheobia, see Discussion.

Comparisons.– reference to table 1 reveals that L. weidholzi is closest in scale counts to L. graueri (sterNFelD, 1913), and L. gracilis (sterNFelD, 1910), and closest in head profiles to L. acutirostrata (ANDerssON, 1916), and L. praeocularis (steJNeGer, 1894). Letheobia weidholzi differs from L. graueri (of uganda, tanzania and se Democratic republic of the Congo) in having an anterior scale row reduction (26-24-24 vs. 24-24-24), a higher number of mean total middorsal scales (651 vs. 535), a slightly more attenuate body (l/W ratio 96 vs. 58–89), a tapered dorsal head profile (vs. round), a pointed lateral head profile (vs. blunt), an elongate ocular shield (vs. small scale), and absence of an apical spine (vs. present). it differs from L. gracilis (of se Democratic republic of the Congo and Zambia) in the numbers of anterior and midbody scale rows (26 vs. 22–24 and 24 vs. 22), having fewer mean middorsal scale counts (651 vs. 685), a tapered dorsal head profile (vs. round), a pointed lateral head profile (vs. blunt), an elongate ocular shield (vs. small scale), and absence of an apical spine (vs. present). Letheobia weidholzi differs from L. acutirostris (of the Democratic republic of the Congo) in middorsal scale count (651 vs. 440–513, x ̅ = 477), inferior nasal suture contact (sl 2 vs. sl 1), and in absence of an apical spine (vs. present). it differs from L. praeocularis (of Democratic republic of the Congo and Angola) in number of middorsal scales (651
vs. 423–545, x ̅ = 507), in orientation of lateral head shields (oblique vs. vertical), in having the preocular larger than the ocular (vs. smaller than ocular), and absence of an apical spine (vs. present).
Within the borders of, or in proximity to, Cameroon are six species of Letheobia: L. caeca, L. crossii, L. decorosa, L. rufescens, L. zenkeri and an undescribed species (nov. sp. 2). Letheobia weidholzi can be distinguished from L. caeca by a greater number of middorsals (651 vs. 417–561, x ̅ = 493), fewer subcaudals (9 vs. 10–12), higher length/width ratio (96 vs. 46–87, x ̅ = 70), location of inferior nasal suture conact (sl 2 vs. r), and absence of apical spine (vs. present). it can be separated from L. crossii by having more total middorsals (651 vs. 455–513, x ̅ = 482), a larger length/width ratio (96 vs. 54–96, x ̅ = 71), a tapered dorsal profile (vs. pointed), and obliquely oriented lateral head shields (vs. vertically). Letheobia weidholzi can be identified in comparison with L. decorosa by anterior and posterior scale row reductions (vs. none), more total middorsals (651 vs. 460–542, x ̅ = 490), fewer subcaudals (9 vs. 10–12), a more attenuate body (l/W 96 vs. 45–66, x ̅ = 56), a broader rostral shield (rW/HW 0.71 vs. 0.59–0.67), location of contact of inferior nasal suture (sl 2 vs. r or sl 1), snout tapering or pointed in both profiles (vs. rounded or blunted), presence of a horizontal keratinous cutting edge to rostral (vs. absence), lateral head shield with oblique orientation (vs. vertical), preocular larger than ocular (vs. equal in size), and absence of apical spine (vs. present). Compared to L. rufescens, L. weidholzi can be identified by a greater number of scale rows (26-24-24 vs. 20-20-20 or 22-20-22), a t–0 supralabial imbrication pattern (vs. t–ii), a larger tail length ratio (1.1 % vs. 0.7–0.8 %), and tapered or pointed head profile (vs. rounded or blunted). Letheobia weidholzi can be separated from L. zenkeri by number of scale rows (26-24-24 vs. 20-18-18), total middorsals (651 vs. 250–281), total length (376 mm vs. 130–150 mm), length/width ratio (96 vs. 41–52), relative tail length (1.1 % vs. 1.7 %), relative rostral width (0.71 vs. 0.32), location of contact of infranasal suture (sl 2 vs. subocular), number of postoculars (3 vs. 1–2), head profiles (tapered/pointed vs. rounded), horizontal keratinous edge present on rostral (vs. absent), lateral head shield orientation (oblique vs. vertical), and preocular larger than ocular (vs. equal in size). From Letheobia nov. sp. 2, L. weidholzi can be distinguished by the numbers of midbody scale rows (24 vs. 22), total middorsals (651 vs. 451) and subcaudals (9
vs. 12), total length (376 mm vs. 134 mm), length/width ratio (96 vs. 49), relative tail length (1.1 % vs. 1.5 %), relative rostral width (0.71 vs. 0.55), head profiles (tapered/pointed vs. rounded/blunted), horizontal keratinous keel on rostral (present vs. absent), eyespot (absent vs. present), and lateral head shield orientation (oblique vs. vertical). 
CommentOtto Wettstein, curator at the Natural History Museum in Vienna, left a hand-written description of this species around 1940 but never formally published it. Weidholz 1941 mentioned the name in a book, also without details, hence creating a nomen nudum.

Habitat: grassland with scrub trees around 500 m elevation. it is found within the humid Sudan-Guinea savanna biome or the tropical Wet-Dry savanna (Aw) climate of Köppern (1884). 
EtymologyNamed after Alfred Weidholz, a Viennese private banker, who collected the type on one of several trips to Africa. 
References
  • Wallach, V. & Gemel, R. 2018. Typhlops weidholzi n. inedit., a new species of Letheobia from the republic of Cameroon, and a synopsis of the genus (Squamata: Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae). Herpetozoa 31 (1/2): 27 - 46 - get paper here
  • Weidholz, A. 1941. Bei den Bergheiden in Nordkamerun. Wien, Ostmarken–Verlag, 240 pp.
 
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