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Xerotyphlops vermicularis (MERREM, 1820)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Eurasian Blind Snake, Greek Blindsnake
G: Blödauge, Europäische Wurmschlange
Russian: Червеобразная слепозмейка 
SynonymAnguis lumbricalis DAUDIN 1803: 308 (preoccupied)
Typhlops vermicularis MERREM 1820: 158
Typhlops flavescens BIBRON & BORY in BORY 1833
Typhlops vermicularis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1844: 303
Argyrophis vermicularis — GRAY 1845: 137
Typhlops vermicalis BREHM 1869 (lapsus)
Typhlops persicus BLANFORD 1874
Typhlops lumbricalis (not of LINNAEUS) — SCHREIBER 1875
Typhlops vermicularis — BOULENGER 1887: 345
Typhlops vermicularis — BOULENGER 1893: 21
Typhlops vermicularis — MEHELY 1894: 83
Typhlops vermicularis — VENZMER 1919: 121
Typhlops vermicularis — WERNER 1935: 107
Typhlops vermicularis — BUSEKE 1982
Typhlops vermicularis — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Typhlops vermicularis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 124
Typhlops vermicularis — GRUBER 2009
Xerotyphlops vermicularis — HEDGES et al. 2014
Typhlops vermicularis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 773
Xerotyphlops vermicularis — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020
Xerotyphlops vermicularis — KORNILIOS et al. 2020
Xerotyphlops vermiculari — RHADI et al. 2021 (in error) 
DistributionMontenegro, Albania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece (incl. Corfu = Corfou, Lesbos, Chios, Samos, Thassos), Turkey, Cyprus,
S Russia (Caucasus, Dagestan), Armenia, Azerbaijan, Republic of Georgia, S Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan ?,
Egypt, Iraq, Iran (Isfahan, East Azarbaijan, Markazi, Tehran, Fars, Mazandaran, Kerman, Khuzestan, Gilan, and Lorestan),

Type locality: Greece  
TypesTypes: Unlocated 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). Species of Xerotyphlops have (1) eye, distinct, (2) snout, rounded, (3) head scale arrangement, non-circular, (4) frontorostral, absent, (5) nasal, incompletely divided, (6) nasal suture origin, supralabial 2, (7) sub- oculars or subpreoculars, absent (rarely present), (8) postoculars, 2 (average, 2.0), (9) preocular-labial contact, su- pralabials 2 & 3, (10) midbody scale rows, 20–24 (average, 23.5), (11) scale row reduction, present, (12) total scale rows, 206–435 (average, 355), (13) caudals, 10–16 (average, 13.0), (14) maximum total length, 220–350 (average, 292) mm, (15) total length/midbody diameter, 37–55 (average, 45.6), (16) total length/tail length, 88, (17) dorsal color, whitish or brown, (18) ventral color, whitish, cream, or brown, (19) dorsum darker than (or same as) venter, (20) overall, either patternless or darker longitudinal lines, (Tables 1–2); molecular phylogenetic support (Fig. 1).
From other genera of Asiatyphlopinae, Xerotyphlops has the shortest tail (TL/TA = 87.7 versus 31.1–75.1; averages). It differs from Acutotyphlops in lacking a frontorostral and from Cyclotyphlops in having non-circular head scales (versus circular arrangement). It differs from Grypotyphlops in lacking subocular scales (rarely present). It differs from Cyclotyphlops and Indotyphlops in having more postoculars (2.00 versus 1.0–1.03; averages). It differs from Anilios, Indotyphlops, and Ramphotyphlops in having higher average midbody scale rows (23.5 versus 19.4– 21.7; averages). It differs from Anilios, Grypotyphlops, and Sundatyphlops in having fewer total scale rows (355 ver- sus 466–496; averages) and smaller body size (TL = 292 versus 353–630; averages). It differs from Malayotyphlops in having lower average midbody scales (23.5 versus 26.8; averages). It differs from Asiatyphlops and Cyclotyphlops in having a thinner body (TL/MBD = 45.6 versus 35.1–35.2; averages) [HEDGES et al. 2014]. For an alternative diagnosis see PYRON & WALLACH 2014: 54. 
CommentSynonymy: Kornilios et al. 2020 revalidated X. syriacus but did not provide a diagnosis for the (two) species.

Distribution: Not in Pakistan fide KHAN 2002 (pers. comm.), not in Romania. See SEH atlas for distribution map. Not on Limnos although Kasapidis et al. (1996) reported it from Limnos. Strachinis & Roussos 2016 consider this record as erroneous. See Kornilios et al 2020 for a map of X. vermicularis and what they call X. syriacus. For a map see Sindaco et al. 2013.

Type species: Typhlops vermicularis MERREM 1820 is the type species of the genus Xerotyphlops HEDGES et al. 2014.

Diet: ants and other invertebrates 
EtymologyThe generic name is a masculine noun formed from the Greek adjective xeros (desert) and Greek noun typhlops (the blind), in reference to the desert region where these species occur. As an alternate meaning, the rarity of species in this large region could be described as a ‘blindsnake desert.’ 
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