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Agamodon arabicus ANDERSON, 1901

IUCN Red List - Agamodon arabicus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaTrogonophidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata
Common NamesE: Arabian Worm Lizard 
SynonymAgamodon arabicus ANDERSON 1901: 140
Agamodon arabicus — GANS 2005: 42 

Type locality: ‘‘Al Khaur, Arabia’’ in Abian County, Yemen.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 99.12.13.-52: RR1946.9.1.3. 
DiagnosisOriginal description: Body much compressed, its transverse breadth at the middle being little more than one-half of its depth, whilst before the vent it is less than half of the depth. Head very short, higher than broad. Eostral considerably broader than long, triangular ; the apex or labial border curved downwards and slightly backwards and nearly half the breadth of the base of the shield. Frontal more or less concave from side to side, the lateral margins of this shield, as well as of the rostral, projecting and raised above the shields on the sides of the head. Nostril elongated, parallel to the outer border of the rostral, in a single shield resting on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd upper labials. Pive upper labials, the fourth and fifth the largest, the first lying below and close to the nostril. A large quadrangular postnasal lying above the 3rd, 4lh, and 5th labials and below the anterior half of the ocular shield. Ocular plate considerably longer than deep, partially divided about the middle of the eye; a large postoeular with three shields between it and the hinder margin of the gape. A subocular, higher than broad, lying between the postnasal and the shield below the postoeular. Three lower labials, the first only in contact with the mental ; the last very large and elongated from above downwards, separated from its fellow of the opposite side by seven scales which are shut off from the posterior end of the chin-shield and from the first and second labials by seven other shields and scales, one or two of the shields being in contact with all the lower labials. Mental very elongate and ribbon-shaped, reaching as far back as the posterior border of the second labial. 161 annuli on the body, 18 on the tail. About 55 scales round the body, including the irregular scales of the vertebral and ventral lines, in the former of which there are about 7 and in the latter 3; each annulus containing about 45 quadrangular segments (from Anderson 1901: 141).

Coloration: Salmon-coloured in life, the majority of the segments of the annuli being generally partially or wholly marked by a dark brown spot, absent, however, from the lower half of the sides and ventral aspect; head-plates yellowish (from Anderson 1901: 141).

Original description based on a single specimen.

Anderson 1901 states that the 3 species of Agamodon are distinguished by the number of annuli around the body. In anguliceps they do not exceed 133, in compressus up to 147, in arabicus there are over 160. 
  • Anderson, John 1901. A list of the reptiles and batrachians obtained by Mr. A. Blayney Percival in southern Arabia. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1901 (2): 137-152 - get paper here
  • Gans, C. 2005. CHECKLIST AND BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AMPHISBAENIA OF THE WORLD. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 289: 1-130 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
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