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Typhlops lumbricalis (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Typhlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Earthworm Blind Snake
G: Regenwurm-Blindschlange 
SynonymAnguis lumbricalis LINNAEUS 1758: 228
Typhlops lumbricalis — OPPEL 1811
Typhlops cubae BIBRON in DE LA SAGRA 1843: 122
Typhlops lumbricalis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 287
Typhlops lumbricalis — BOULENGER 1893: 31
Typhlops lumbricalis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 651
Typhlops lumbricalis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 108
Typhlops lumbricalis — KORNILIOS et al. 2013
Typhlops lumbricalis — HEDGES et al. 2014 
DistributionBahama Islands: Little Bahama Bank (Water Cay, Little and Great Ragged islands) and Great Bahama Bank: Abaco Islands (Great and Little Abaco islands), Andros Island, Berry Islands (Great Harbour Cay), Bimini Islands (South Bimini Island), Cat Island, Eleuthera Island, Exuma Cays (Great and Little Exuma islands, Pipe Cay, Staniel Cay), Long Island, and New Providence Island.

Type locality: “Cuba” (BIBRON 1843); restricted to “Bahamas islands” by THOMAS 1989.  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesNeotype: KU 273756, suggested by Dominguez & Diaz 2011 
CommentType species: Anguis lumbricalis LINNAEUS 1758: 228 is the type species of the genus Typhlops SCHNEIDER in OPPEL 1811.

Synonymy: Typhlops silus LEGLER 1959 has been removed from the synonymy of T. lumbricalis. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic names Acetyphlops Hoser 2012, Altmantyphlops Hoser 2012, Arnoldtyphlops Hoser 2012, Copelandtyphlops Hoser 2012, Crottytyphlops Hoser 2012, Dannytyphlops Hoser 2012, Edwardstyphlops Hoser 2012, Eippertyphlopea Hoser 2012, Elliotttyphlopea Hoser 2012, Freudtyphlops Hoser 2012, Goldsteintyphlops Hoser 2012, Judywhybrowea Hoser 2012, Katrinhosertyphlops Hoser 2012, Lenhosertyphlops Hoser 2012, Mosestyphlops Hoser 2012, Nintyphlops Hoser 2012, Pillotttyphlops Hoser 2012, Rentontyphlops Hoser 2012, Rolyburrellus Hoser 2012, Ronhoserus Hoser 2012, Woolftyphlops Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Typhlops.

Typhlops (Diaphorotyphlops) disparilis JAN, in JAN & SORDELLI 1860-1866 is a species of unknown status and thus listed under “species inquirenda” by several authors, e.g. WALLACH et al. 2014: 837, (following Hahn 1980: 76), MCDIARMID, et al. 1999: 125 etc. It’s distribution and type locality are unknown (according to HAHN 1980) and the type destroyed. However, the species has been mentioned in a few papers, e.g. as Diaphorotyphlops disparilis (PETERS 1881: 70) or
Typhlops disparilis (BOULENGER 1893: 53).

Diagnosis (genus). Species of Typhlops have (1) eye, distinct, (2) snout, rounded, (3) head scale arrangement, non- circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, completely divided (rarely incomplete), (6) nasal suture origin, supral- abial 2, (7) suboculars or subpreoculars, absent (rarely present), (8) postoculars, 2 (rarely 1 or 3; average, 1.85), (9) preocular-labial contact, supralabial 3 (rarely none), (10) midbody scale rows, 18 or 22 (average, 20.0), (11) scale row reduction, present or absent, (12) total scale rows, 231–457 (average, 312), (13) caudals, 8–19 (average, 13.1), (14) maximum total length, 126–445 (average, 243) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 23–57 (average, 35.9), (16) total length/tail length, 18–88 (36.8), (17) dorsal color, always pigmented, brown or tan, (18) ventral color, unpig- mented (pinkish), white, or cream, (19) dorsum darker than venter, and (20) overall, lacking any distinctive pattern (spots, lines, or stripes), although rarely a faint trace of a dorsal line (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support
(Figs. 1, 3).
Among its closest relatives (Figs. 1, 3), Typhlops is distinguished from Cubatyphlops by the presence of 2 postoculars (versus 1; except in 3 species of Typhlops with 1 postocular) and preocular contact with supralabial 3 only (versus contact with supralabials 2 and 3 in Cubatyphlops) (Table 2). The same distinction holds for Typhlops versus the more distantly related Amerotyphlops, although 4 species of that latter genus have more than 1 posto- cular (Thomas 1968; 1976; Dixon & Hendricks 1979; Thomas & Hedges 2007). Typhlops and Antillotyphlops require closest comparison. Thomas (1989) found that species placed here in the genus Typhlops formed a group sepa- rate from species placed here in Antillotyphlops based on reduction of the basihyal and a lower number of total middorsal scale rows. He excluded T. jamaicensis and T. sulcatus from that definition, but the molecular data place those two species together with others in Typhlops sensu stricto [HEDGES et al. 2014: 47]. For an alternative diagnosis see PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 45.

For illustrations see Vogel, 1965; Vogel, 1966; Thomas, 1974; Thomas, 1976.

When A. lumbricalis was published this taxon was composite of two names currently used for two distinct species, Typhlops lumbricalis from the Cuban archipelago and the Bahamas and Typhlops jamaicensis (Shaw, 1802) from Jamaica. The now-nominal species Anguis jamaicensis was based on two of the references cited by Linnaeus and the name jamaicensis is a replacement name for lumbricalis.

Distribution: restricted to the Bahamas Islands by DOMINGUEZ & DIAZ 2011. Populations from other localities have been assigned to other species by DOMINGUEZ & DIAZ 2011. The species has previously been reported from Cuba, Isla de la Juventud, Hispaniola, Bahamas, Guyana (introduced), Jamaica (BARBOUR 1910), and the USA (Florida). Records of this species from Guyana and Florida, USA, are based in specimens stored in museums (e.g., Myers, 1958; Peters and Orejas– Miranda, 1970). These records are mistakes because they were based on misidentifications and erroneous locality data (Dixon and Hen- dricks, 1979; McDiarmid et al., 1999).

Diagnosis. Typhlops lumbricalis (sensu stricto) is the smallest West Indian blind snake (166 mm maximum TL). This species, three described species from Hispaniola (T. schwartzi, T. tetrathyreus, and T. titanops), and two Cuban species described in this paper are related and define a species group: the T. lumbricalis (see Discussion). This group can be distinguished from other West Indian species groups by its 20 scale rows anteriorly, reducing posteriorly to 18 scale rows, low middorsal scale counts (,350, occasionally ,300), single preocular contacting with third supralabial only, and two postoculars. Typhlops lumbricalis (sensu stricto) differs from some of these species (including new Cuban species) by its rounded snout (in dorsal and lateral views), narrow oval rostral in dorsal view (0.51–0.61 RWD/RLD), weakly divergent post- nasal pattern, small parietals, and low middorsal scale counts (,275). The closest species from Hispaniola is T. tetrathyreus. Both species have a rounded snout, low middorsal scale counts (,285), and narrow oval rostral in dorsal view. But T. lumbricalis (sensu stricto) can be distinguished from T. tetrathyreus by its dorsal snout pattern (rounded vs. weakly ogival) and postnasal pattern (parallel to weakly divergent vs. calyculate). Because the new Cuban species were previously confused with T. lumbricalis, our discussion below will focus mostly on diagnostic traits among them. 
EtymologyThe generic name, a masculine noun, is Greek (”typhlos”), meaning ‘blind’ from (typhl- = blind + ops = eye). The genus name is feminine (fide Savage 1950). 
References
  • Barbour, T. 1904. Batrachia and Reptilia from the Bahamas. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 46: 55—61 - get paper here
  • Barbour, T. 1910. Notes on the herpetology of Jamaica. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 52: 273—301 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Cochran, D. 1924. Typhlops lumbricalis and related forms. J. Washington Acad. Sci., 14 (8): 174-177
  • Cocteau, J.-T. and G. Bibron 1838. Reptiles, in R. de la Sagra. Historia Física, Política y Natural de la Isla de Cuba, Tomo IV. Arthus Bertrand, Paris, 142 pp. [1838-1843 - index on page 143] - get paper here
  • Domínguez, M. and R. E. Díaz. 2011. Case 3527 - Anguis lumbricalis Linnaeus, 1758 and Anguis jamaicencis Shaw, 1802 (currently Typhlops lumbricalis and Typhlops jamaicensis) (Reptilia, Serpentes): proposed conservation of usage of the specific names by the designation of neotypes for b Bull. Zool. Nomenclature 68 (3):197-203 - get paper here
  • DOMÍNGUEZ, MICHEL & LUIS V. MORENO 2009. Taxonomy of the Cuban blind snakes (Scolecophidia, Typhlopidae), with the description of a new large species. Zootaxa 2028: 59-66 - get paper here
  • Domínguez, Michel and Raúl E Díaz 2011. Taxonomy of the Blind Snakes Associated with Typhlops lumbricalis (Linnaeus, 1758) (Scolecophidia, Typhlopidae) from the Bahamas Islands and Cuba. Herpetologica 67 (2): 194-211. - get paper here
  • DOMÍNGUEZ, MICHEL; ANSEL FONG G. & MANUEL ITURRIAGA 2013. A new blind snake (Typhlopidae) from Northeastern Cuba. Zootaxa 3681: 136–146 - get paper here
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  • 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
  • Hoser, R.T. 2012. A review of the extant scolecophidians (“blindsnakes”) including the formal naming and diagnosis of new tribes, genera, subgenera, species and subspecies for divergent taxa. Australasian J. Herpetol. 15: 1–64. - get paper here
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  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • 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
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  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
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  • Oppel, M. 1811. Die Ordnungen, Familien und Gattungen der Reptilien, als Prodrom einer Naturgeschichte derselben. J. Lindauer, München.
  • Peters, WILHELM C. H. 1881. Einige herpetologische Mittheilungen. 1. Uebersicht der zu den Familien der Typhlopes und Stenostomi gehörigen Gattungen oder Untergattungen. 2. Ueber eine neue Art von Tachydromus aus dem Amurlande. 3. Ueber die von Herrn Dr. finsch aus Polynesien g Sitzungs-Ber. Gesellsch.Naturforsch. Freunde Berlin, 1881 (4): 69-72.
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081
  • Richmond, N. D. 1961. The status of Typhlops silus Legler. Copeia 1961 (2): 221-222 - get paper here
  • Rodríguez Schettino, Lourdes, Carlos A. Mancina & Vilma Rivalta González 2013. REPTILES OF CUBA: CHECKLIST AND GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS. Smithsonian Herp. Inf. Serv. (144): 1-96
  • Savage, J.M. 1950. Two new blind snakes ( genus Typhlops) from the Philippine Islands. Proc. California zool. Club, Palo Alto, 1 : 49-54
  • Schwartz,A. & Henderson,R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
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  • Thomas, R. 1976. Systematics of Antillean blind snakes of the genus Typhlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Ph.D. Thesis, Louisiana State Univ.: xvi + 288pp.
  • Vogel, Z. 1965. Herpetologische Beobachtungen auf Kuba (II). Aquar. und Terrar. 12(9):98-99.
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