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Tetracheilostoma carlae (HEDGES, 2008)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Epictinae, Epictini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Barbados Threadsnake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops carlae HEDGES 2008
Tetracheilostoma carlae — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Leptotyphlops carlae — LILLYWHITE 2014: 12
Tetracheilostoma carlae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 714
Tetracheilostoma carlae74454 

Type locality: under rock on ground near Bonwell, St. Joseph Parish, Barbados, 280 m elevation (13° 11.196’ N, 59° 32.445’ W).  
Reproductionclutch size: 1 
TypesHolotype: USNM 564819, adult female, collected on 9 June 2006 by S. Blair Hedges and Carla Ann Hass. Field tag number 267708. Paratypes. USNM 564818, from same locality; BMNH, from Barbados (no specific locality); BM 1969.792, from Codrington College, St. John Parish, Barbados, 100 m (13° 10.543’ N, 59° 28.481’ W); California Academy of Sciences (CAS) 49279, “St. John, Antigua,” collected by W. K. Fisher in July, 1918, on the Barbados-Antigua Expedition. This locality is interpreted to be in error; it is likely from St. John Parish, Barbados (see discussion in HEDGES 2008). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small species of the genus (104 mm maximum total length, TOL) and member of the West Indian bilineatus group (Thomas et al., 1985) in having the ocular and lip separated by labial scales. It is most closely related to Leptotyphlops bilineatus (Martinique) and an undescribed species from St. Lucia (see below) in having fewer than 290 middorsal scales, large eyes, and a dark body color with two pale dorsolateral stripes. In color pattern it differs from both in having continuous stripes from eyes to tip of tail with an additional pair of narrow middorsal lines. In scale characters (Figs. 3–4, Table 1) it differs from both species in having a narrower PA1 (width/length 1.56–1.74 vs. 1.84–2.28), a wider contact (suture) of PF and RO (PF-RO/PF-PN 0.78–1.2 vs. 0.31–0.61), and a shorter PA1-PA2 suture (0.63–0.68 vs. 0.69–0.85 % snoutvent length, SVL). In addition, it differs from L. bilineatus in having a narrower head (2.38–2.49 vs. 2.53– 2.68 % SVL), a shorter OC (0.65–0.73 vs. 0.78–0.84 % SVL), and shorter anterior middorsals, PF+FR+IP+IO (2.06–2.16 vs. 2.28–2.55). From the new St. Lucia species, it differs in having more middorsal scales (185– 192 vs. 176–183), a shorter OC suture (SO-OC/PN-OC 1.42–2.08 vs. 2.23–3.31), and a narrower SO (0.87– 0.96 vs. 0.99–1.16). Measurements and scale counts, including those of the holotype, are in Table 1 of HEDGES 2008. 
CommentThis is the smallest snake known with an adult length of ~ 10 cm. 
Etymologynamed after Blair Hedge’s wife, Carla Hass who is also a herpetologist. 
  • 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
  • Hedges, S.B. 2008. At the lower size limit in snakes: two new species of threadsnakes (Squamata: Leptotyphlopidae: Leptotyphlops) from the Lesser Antilles. Zootaxa 1841: 1–30 - get paper here
  • Lillywhite, Harvey B. 2014. How Snakes Work: Structure, Function and Behavior of the World's Snakes. Oxford University Press, New York, 256 pp
  • O’Shea, M. 2018. The Book of Snakes. Ivy Press / Quarto Publishing, London, - get paper here
  • Thomas, R., R. W. McDiarmid, and F. G. Thompson. 1985. Three new species of thread snakes (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) from Hispaniola. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 98: 204-220. - 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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