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Typhlops eperopeus THOMAS & HEDGES, 2007

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Typhlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Baoruco Blindsnake 
SynonymTyphlops eperopeus THOMAS & HEDGES 2007: 12
Typhlops eperopeus — HEDGES et al. 2014
Typhlops eperopeus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 762 
DistributionDominican Republic (from below sea level in the Valle de Neiba up to relatively high elevations in the eastern Sierra de Baoruco.)

Type locality: 3.9 km airline SSW Barahona (4.5 km S Barahona along coast road and 2.8 km inland), 18° 9.854' N, 71° 5.497' W, 305 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 564785 (field tag number 266250), an adult female, collected on 30 July 1999 by R. Thomas. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This is a large, 20-scale-row species of Typhlops, not reducing to 18 scale rows posteriorly or reducing about 2/3 the way along the body. Despite the fact that specimens of this species were previously included within T. hectus (Thomas, 1974), T. eperopeus agrees with T. titanops in the presence of reduction from 20 to 18 scale rows fairly far anteriorly (60–65% of the TL) in some individuals (all T. titanops reduce at around midbody; T. hectus reduce at 73–94% TL). It differs from T. titanops in having a greater number of middorsal scales (307–329 versus 231–264). In body size (TL), T. eperopeus averages larger: 140–281 ( = 234) mm versus 145–216 ( = 185) mm in T. titanops. From the standpoint of size, middorsal counts and head scale shapes, however, the major comparisons are with T. hectus and the other species described herein. Typhlops eperopeus is sympatric with T. proancylops and differs from that species in having a nearly parallel-sided rostral (oval in T. proancylops), having a rostral wide point relatively far posterior (anterior in T. proancylops; Fig. 7A and following figure references in THOMAS & HEDGES 2007) and having a preocular with rounded apex (two angles near the apex in T. proancylops; Fig. 3B). Typhlops eperopeus differs from T. hectus in having a nearly parallel-sided rostral (distinctly clavate in T. hectus), and having a preocular with rounded apex (pointed in T. hectus; Figs. 3, 7B). Typhlops eperopeus differs from T. agoralionis in having a broader rostral (RW1/RL1 0.51–0.58 versus 0.41–0.45 in T. agoralionis), having a straight-edged (V-shaped) preocular extension (lower edge with angled bend in T. agoralionis; Fig. 3C). Typhlops eperopeus differs from T. sylleptor in having a broader rostral (RW1/RL1 0.51–0.58 versus 0.44–0.50 in T. sylleptor), a nearly parallel-sided rostral (oval in T. sylleptor), and in having a rostral wide point relatively far posterior (Fig. 7A). 
CommentSympatry: In the lower elevations of its range, this species occurs sympatrically with T. pusillus and T. sulcatus (Schwartz & Henderson, 1991), and with T. proancylops in the vicinity of Puerto Escondido and Duvergé.
EtymologyEperopeus, used appositionally, is Greek for deceiver, in allusion to the deceptive morphological similarity of this species to Typhlops hectus and the other species described herein, in contrast to its presumed relationship to T. titanops based on molecular and some morphological characters. 
  • 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
  • Kornilios, P.; S. Giokas, P. Lymberakis, R. Sindaco 2013. Phylogenetic position, origin and biogeography of Palearctic and Socotran blind-snakes (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 68 (1): 35–41 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • THOMAS R. & S.B. HEDGES 2007. Eleven new species of snakes of the genus Typhlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Hispaniola and Cuba. Zootaxa 1400: 1-26 - get paper here
  • Thomas, R. 1974. A new species of Typhlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Hispaniola. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 87:11-18. - 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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