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Xenotyphlops grandidieri (MOCQUARD, 1905)

IUCN Red List - Xenotyphlops grandidieri - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaXenotyphlopidae, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymTyphlops grandidieri MOCQUARD 1905: 286
Typhlops grandidieri — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 349
Xenotyphlops grandidieri - WALLACH & INEICH 1996
Xenotyphlops grandidieri — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 127
Xenotyphlops mocquardi WALLACH, MERCURIO & ANDREONE 2007
Xenotyphlops mocquardi — VIDAL et al. 2010
Xenotyphlops grandidieri — VIDAL et al. 2010 
DistributionMadagascar.

Type locality: “Madagascar”

mocquardi: Madagascar. Type locality: Ambodivahibe (approximately 12 km SE Antsiranana), Antsiranana Fivondronana, Antsiranana Faritany, 22°23’25”S, 49°26’20”E, elevation ca. 40 m. Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesSyntypes: MNHN 05-271 & 05-272.
Holotype: MRSN R3208 (field no. FAZC 13182), an adult female collected by V. Mercurio, on 14 January 2005 [mocquardi] 
CommentSynonymy: Xenotyphlops mocquardi was synonymized with X. grandidieri by Wegener et al. 2013.

This bizarre scolecophidian has been known solely from the type specimens for more than 100 years. No precise locality is known for X. grandidieri proper. However, after the synonymization with X. mocquardi Wegener et al. 2013 described its distribution in more detail.

Type species: Typhlops grandidieri MOCQUARD 1905 is the type species of the genus Xenotyphlops WALLACH & INEICH 1996. The genus is also the type genus of the family Xenotyphlopidae VIDAL et al. 2010.

Definition of the genus: the genus Xenotyphlops is distinguishable externally from all members of the Typhlopidae by its greatly enlarged and nearly circular rostral shield that is nearly vertical in lateral aspect (giving it a ‘bulldozer” appearance) and a single enlarged anal shield. Internally Xenotyphlops is unique among typhlopids in lacking a tracheal lung and possessing an unexpanded tracheal membrane, type G tracheal foramina, and a long heart-liver gap. Other characters that are rare within the family include absence of a preocular, presence of a subocular that is larger than the ocular, absence of a visible eye, T-X supralabial
imbrication pattern, elongate body of uniform diameter, absence of an apical spine, pigmentless pattern, and unipartite liver [from WALLACH et al. 2007]. See PYRON & WALLACH 2014 for an updated diagnosis of the genus.

Diagnosis (mocquardi): Xenotyphlops mocquardi can be immediately diagnosed from all other Typhlopidae by its lateral snout profile (with greatly enlarged circular rostral that is nearly vertically oriented) or anal shield (which is single and broad as in many Alethinophidia). Internally it is unique among the Typhlopidae in the absence of a tracheal lung and expanded tracheal membrane, presence of type G tracheal foramina, and a long heart- liver gap. From Letheobia (=Rhinotyphlops), which contains its apparently closest relatives, X. mocquardi can be separated by a long tail (3.7% vs. < 0.7–2.2% total length with a length/width ratio of 2.7 vs. 0.7–1.7) that does not taper distally, high number of subcaudals (22 vs. 6–17), and short snout-heart interval (26.4% vs. 29.5%–40.7% SVL). Additionally, Xenotyphlops mocquardi can be distinguished from its congener X. grandidieri by midbody scale rows (22 vs. 20), posterior scale row reduction present (vs. absent), third supralabial (larger than fourth vs. fourth larger than third), orientation of anteroventral rostral point (ventrally vs. anteriorly), vestigial left lung (present vs. absent), and anterior liver extension (right lobe vs. left lobe) [from WALLACH et al. 2007]. 
EtymologyXenotyphlops mocquardi was named after François Mocquard (1834–1917), the herpetologist who described Xenotyphlops grandidieri. During his life Mocquard contributed in a substantial way to the knowledge of Malagasy herpetofauna (Glaw & Vences, 1994), culminating in his grand systematic synopsis (Mocquard, 1909). 
References
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • Guibé,J. 1958. Les serpents de Madagascar. Memoires de l’Institut Scientifique de Madagascar 12: 189-260
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1905. Note préliminaire sur une collection de reptiles et de Batraciens offerte au Muséum par M. Maurice de Rothschild. Bull. Mus. nation. Hist. nat., Paris 11: 285-288 - get paper here
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081
  • Wallach, V. & Glaw, F. 2009. A new mid-altitude rainforest species of Typhlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Madagascar with notes on the taxonomic status of T. boettgeri Boulenger, T. microcephalus Werner, and T. capensis Rendahl. Zootaxa 2294: 23–38 - get paper here
  • Wallach, V. & I. INEICH 1996. Redescription of a rare Malagasy blind snake, Typhlops grandidieri MOCQUARD, with placement in a new genus (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Journal of Herpetology 30 (3): 367-376. - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; VINCENZO MERCURIO & FRANCO ANDREONE 2007. Rediscovery of the enigmatic blind snake genus Xenotyphlops in northern Madagascar, with description of a new species (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Zootaxa 1402: 59–68 - get paper here
  • Wegener, J.E., Swoboda, S., Hawlitschek, O., Franzen, M., Wallach, V., Vences, M., Nagy, T., Hedges, S.B., Köhler, J. & Glaw, F. 2013. Morphological variation and taxonomic reassessment of the endemic Malagasy blind snake family Xenotyphlopidae (Serpentes, Scolecophidia). Spixiana, 36: 269–282 - get paper here
 
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