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Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae WALLACH, 2021

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Molly Ozaki’s Blindsnake 
SynonymRamphotyphlops ozakiae WALLACH in NIYOMWAN, THIRAKHUPT & NABHITABHATA 2001 (nom. nud.)
Ramphotyphlops ozakiae — WALLACH et al. 2007
Indotyphlops ozakiae — COX et al. 2012: 15
Ramphotyphlops ozakiae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 629
Indotyphlops ozakiae — HEDGES et al. 2014
Ramphotyphlops ozakiae — CHAN-ARD et al. 2015: 147
Typhlops ozakiae — IUCN 2018
Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae — WALLACH 2020
Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae — WALLACH 2021 (date emendation) 
DistributionThailand (Nakhon Ratchasima)

Type locality: not given; the paratype is from Pak Thong Chai, Nakhon Ratchasima.  
TypesHolotype: FMNH 180007, paratype: FMNH 180003-06, ZMUC R52174 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Since molecular data are lacking for most members of both Ramphotyphlops and Indotyphlops, morphological data must be relied upon for clues to relationships. Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae is most similar to R. albiceps (currently placed in Indotyphlops by HEDGES et al., 2014), with which it is sympatric, and can be distinguished from R. albiceps by head colour (brown vs. yellow head and nape), number of postoculars (1 vs. 2–4), and the number of helical coils in the hemipenis (0.5 vs. 3.5), in addition to the visceral characters listed in Table 2. Although not diagnostic, due to overlap in ranges, it also has a smaller average number of middorsals (x = 307 vs. 343) and a thicker body proportion (L/W ratio: x = 40 vs. 68). Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae differs from R. lineatus in fewer scale rows (20 vs. 22–24), relatively longer tail (T/LOA ≥ 1.8% vs. ≤ 1.8%), INS contact (SL 2 vs. SL 1), and number of postoculars (1 vs. 2– 4) and from all other Ramphotyphlops with 20 scale rows, R. mollyozakiae can be distinguished by its SNS being visible on the dorsum of the snout. Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae can be distinguished from Virgotyphlops braminus by the INS contact (SL 2 vs. pre-ocular) and bisexual mode of reproduction (vs. unisexual) (WALLACH, 2020).
From all Asian species of Indotyphlops with 20 scale rows, R. mollyozakiae can be separated from I. jerdoni by a single postocular (vs. 2); from I. lankaensis by total middorsals (> 290 vs. < 265), larger body size (LOA > 150 mm vs. < 130 mm), thinner body proportions (L/W > 38 vs. < 35), and the INS contact (SL 2 vs. pre-ocular); from I. malcolmi by larger body size (> 150 mm vs. < 135 mm), thinner body (L/W > 38 vs. < 32), and nasal shield (divided vs. undivided); from I. pammeces by total middorsals (< 327 vs. > 328), thicker body (L/W < 53 vs. > 54), and nasal shield (divided vs. undivided); from I. porrectus by SIP (T-III vs. T-V), posterior scale rows (20 vs. 18), and total middorsals (< 330 vs. > 400); from I. schmutzi by SIP (T-III vs. T-V), total middorsals (< 330 vs. > 385), and larger body size (> 150 mm vs. < 145 mm); from I. tenebrarum by larger size (≥ 154 mm vs. ≤ 144 mm), broader rostral (RW/HW > 0.35 vs. < 0.30), and nasal shield (divided vs. undivided); from I. veddae by larger body size (> 150 mm vs. < 95 mm), subcaudals (≤ 12 vs. ≥ 13), thicker body (L/W < 55 vs. > 60), and nasal shield (divided vs. undivided); and from I. violaceus by larger body size (≥ 154 mm vs. ≤ 135 mm), and the INS contact (SL 2 vs. pre-ocular) (Table 3 in Wallach 2020). 
CommentThe “original” description is in a key to the snakes of Thailand based on data provided by Van Wallach to the authors who assumed that Wallach will have described the species independently. This, however, has not happened, hence Wallach 2020 provided a formal description and thus the year of description should be amended to 2021 (because the 2020 publication did not have a Zoobank registration).

Geographically, the species would fall into Indotyphlops more than Ramphotyphlops but the morphology (including reproductive structures) suggests it to be a Ramphotyphlops. DNA sequences may be needed for unambiguous assignment (V. Wallach, pers. comm., 23 Dec 2020). 
EtymologyThis species is named in honour of Molly Ozaki (1927–2010), long-time Secretary and Administrative Assistant in the Division of Amphibians and Reptiles (and briefly in the Division of Fishes), Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL. Her tenure extended from 1978 to 1992. 
  • Chan-ard, T., Parr, J.W.K. & Nabhitabhata, J. 2015. A field guide to the reptiles of Thailand. Oxford University Press, NY, 352 pp. [see book reviews by Pauwels & Grismer 2015 and Hikida 2015 for corrections] - get paper here
  • Cox, Merel J.; Hoover, M.F.; Chanhome, Lawan & Thirakhupt,Kumthorn 2012. The Snakes of Thailand. Chulalongkorn University Museum of Natural History, 845 pp.
  • 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
  • Niyomwan, P.; Thirakhupt, K.; Nabhitabhata, J. 2001. A key to the blind snakes in Thailand. Natural History Journal of Chulalongkorn University 1(1):47-52. - get paper here
  • Wallach, V.; Brown, R.M.; Diesmos, A.C. & Gee, G.V.A. 2007. An Enigmatic New Species of Blind Snake from Luzon Island, Northern Philippines, with A Synopsis of The Genus Acutotyphlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Journal of Herpetology 41 (4): 690-702 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van 2020. Redescription of the Thailand blindsnake “Ramphotyphlops ozakiae Wallach in Niyomwan, 1999,” nomen nudum, as Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae n. sp. (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) Podarcis 11 (2): 40-50 - get paper here
  • WALLACH, VAN. 2021. Addendum to the description of the new species Ramphotyphlops mollyozakiae Wallach, 2020 (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Podarcis n.s. 12(2): 22–23. - 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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