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Afrotyphlops liberiensis (HALLOWELL, 1848)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Afrotyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Guinea Blind Snake 
SynonymOnychocephalus liberiensis HALLOWELL 1848
Typhlops punctatus liberiensis — LAURENT 1964
Typhlops punctatus liberiensis — BAUER et al. 2002
Afrotyphlops liberiensis — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2009
Typhlops liberiensis — BÖHME et al. 2011
Afrotyphlops liberiensis — HEDGES et al. 2014
Afrotyphlops liberiensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 15
Afrotyphlops liberiensis — SENTER & CHIPPAUX 2022 
DistributionGuinea (Conakry), Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ghana,

Type locality: “Liberia, western coast of Africa”  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: ANSP 3243 
Diagnosis“According to Roux-Estève (1974), there are no clear morphological criteria for distinguishing the forest (sub)species A. liberiensis from the savanna (sub)species A. punctatus, except a lower number of mid-dorsal scales for A. liberiensis (26–32) compared to A. punctatus (30–34), the arrangement of subocular/preocular, and a longer maximum and average length for A. liberiensis as compared to A. punctatus. Our 19 specimens from rainforest areas of Guinea have 26 (4 specimens), 28 (11) or 30 (3) mid-dorsal scales, compared to 30 (24) or 32 (4) mid-dorsal scales for the 28 specimens from savanna areas of Guinea that we attribute to A. punctatus. The maximum length was 950 mm for a A. liberiensis female from Konipara (IRD 2669.G, a record size for the species), compared to 592 mm for a A. punctatus female from Kalékouré. Our preliminary molecular data also support the recognition of A. liberiensis as a distinct species. Both marbled and lineated patterns were represented.” (from TRAPE & BALDÉ 2014) 
CommentHabitat: Morphological differentiation between congestus, liberiensis and punctatus is minor but they inhabit different habitats: savannah (punctatus), forest (congestus and liberiensis) according to BRANCH & RÖDEL 2003. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Bauer, A.M., Wallach, V., and Günther, R. 2002. An annotated type catalogue of the scolecophidian, alethinophidian, and macrostomatan snakes in the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (ZMB). Mitt. Mus. Naturkunde Berlin 78:157-176. - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Christian Brede & Philipp Wagner 2011. The reptiles (Testudines, Squamata, Crocodylia) of the forested southeast of the Republic Guinea (Guinée forestière), with a country-wide checklist. Bonn zoological Bulletin 60 (1): 35-61 - get paper here
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Wallach, V. 2009. A review of the eastern and southern African blind-snakes (Serpentes: Typhlopidae), excluding Letheobia Cope, with the description of two new genera and a new species. Zootaxa 2255: 1-100 - get paper here
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • Hallowell,E. 1848. Description of two new species of Onychocephalus, from the western coast of Africa. Proc. Acad. nat. Sci., Philadelphia, 1848: 59-61 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Laurent, R.F. 1964. A Revision of the punctatus Group of African Typhlops. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 130 (6): 387-444 - get paper here
  • Senter, P. J., & Chippaux, J. P. 2022. Biogeography of snakes in Liberia: Review and synthesis of current knowledge. Ghana Journal of Science, 63(1), 29-62 - get paper here
  • TRAPE, JEAN-FRANÇOIS & CELLOU BALDÉ 2014. A checklist of the snake fauna of Guinea, with taxonomic changes in the genera Philothamnus and Dipsadoboa (Colubridae) and a comparison with the snake fauna of some other West African countries. Zootaxa 3900 (3): 301–338 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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