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Myriopholis ionidesi (BROADLEY & WALLACH, 2007)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Myriopholini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ionides’ worm snake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops ionidesi BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 27
Leptotyphlops longicaudus — LOVERIDGE 1942: 260 (part.)
Leptotyphlops longicaudus — SPAWLS et al. 2001: 304 (part.)
Myriopholis ionidesi — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Myriopholis ionidesi — WALLACH et al. 2014: 463
Myriopholis ionidesi — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 374 
DistributionSE Tanzania, N Malawi, N Mozambique, elevation 0-130 m.

Type locality: Liwale, Southern Province, Tanzania (09°47’S, 38°00’E, elevation 600 m)  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 57440, collected by C. J. P. Ionides (field no. 8333), 27 April 1958. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the Leptotyphlops longicaudus species group, resembling L. longicaudus but distinguished by a narrower rostral, small anterior supralabial, fewer subcaudals, absence of a beak and smaller size. It agrees in size with L. braccianii, but differs in its much narrower rostral and higher subcaudal counts. Skull with a large frontoparietal foramen like L. cairi. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Description (paratype variations in parentheses). Body cylindrical, head narrower than neck and body, short thick tail that abruptly tapers to a thorn-like terminal spine.
Snout rounded, rostral narrow (0.33–0.40 head width, mean = 0.36), wider than nasals and extending to a line connecting anterior edge of eyes, a weak preoral groove present ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bor- xxx dered by infranasal (nostril midway between rostral and supralabial along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial not reaching level of nostril, half as tall as infranasal and equal in width to it along lip, large ocular with eye near anterior edge, contacting postnasal, and moderate posterior supralabial. Supraoculars oblique, subequal to frontal, which is twice as broad as deep, subequal to postfrontal, and smaller than interoccipital and interparietal, which are subequal in size. Parietals transverse, equal in size to the enlarged occipitals, in contact with posterior supralabial. (MCZ 50069 has the frontal enlarged laterally at the expense of the right supraocular, the parietals converge and almost meet behind the postfrontal, the occipitals meet at a point behind two juxtaposed interoccipitals). Temporal single. No mental.
Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 10 rows on the tail takes place lateral to the broad, semilunar-shaped cloacal shield. Total middorsals 297 (265–306), subcaudals 36 (34–38).
Total length/diameter ratio 52 (60–75), total length/tail ratio 9.7 (8.6–10.0).
Middorsal five to seven scale rows lightly pigmented, tan, venter immaculate creamy-white.
Everted hemipenis of MCZ 18179 (SVL 112 mm, tail 12.5 mm, 36 subcaudals) resembles that of Psammophis: organ single, filiform with slight taper distally, four subcaudals in length (1.0 mm long x 0.1 mm diameter), nude, lacking any ornamentation, sulcus simple, extending along posterior surface of organ. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Size. Largest specimen (MCZ 59175) 134.5 + 15 = 149.5 mm. (Broadley & Wallach 2007) 
CommentHabitat: Miombo woodland. 
EtymologyNamed to commemorate C.J.P. Ionides, who collected the holotype and series of many other fossorial reptiles in Tanzania. 
  • 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
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - 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
  • Loveridge, A. 1942. Scientific results of a fourth expedition to forested areas in east and central Africa. IV. Reptiles. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 237-373 - get paper here
  • Pietersen, Darren, Verburgt, Luke & Davies, John 2021. Snakes and other reptiles of Zambia and Malawi. Struik Nature / Penguin Random House South Africa, 376 pp., ISBN 9781775847373
  • 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
  • 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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