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Amphisbaena caudalis COCHRAN, 1928

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cayemite Long-tailed Wormlizard, Cayemite Long-tailed Amphisbaena 
SynonymAmphisbaena caudalis COCHRAN 1928: 58
Amphisbaena caudalis — BARBOUR 1937: 146
Amphisbaena innocens caudalis — GANS & ALEXANDER 1962
Amphisbaena innocens caudalis — GANS 1967: 72
Amphisbaena caudalis — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 556
Amphisbaena caudalis — GANS 2005: 12
Amphisbaena caudalis — THOMAS & HEDGES 2006 
DistributionHispaniola (Grande Cayemite Island and the adjacent Baradères Peninsula of Haiti)

Type locality: Île Grande Cayemite, Département de la Grand'Anse, Haiti.  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 25550. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Amphisbaena caudalis is a moderate-sized (to 247 mm SVL), slender, relatively short-headed, long-tailed species of Amphisbaena with caudal autotomy; it lacks major alterations of the head scales and has the Y chin configuration, has wide body annuli posteriorly, a high number of caudal annuli, and large “difference counts.” In small head size, slenderness, long tails (9-10% SVL), high caudal annuli counts, and high “difference counts,” it superficially resembles A. hyporissor but differs from that species in having the Y chin configuration, and in the broad median contact of the first pair of parietals. Caudal autotomy occurs modally at annulus six in A. caudalis and annulus five in A. hyporissor. Amphisbaena hyporissor and A. gonavensis are similar in having the M chin configuration and the tendency toward narrowing of the median contact of the first pair of parietals, but A. gonavensis has a short tail and correspondingly low caudal annular counts (10-13); it also has low “difference counts” (-2-2), which do not overlap with those of A. caudalis (Gans and Alexander 1962). Amphisbaena caudalis differs from the widespread A. innocens in being more slender (Fig. 3B in THOMAS & HEDGES 2006), having a smaller head (Fig. 3C), a strong mode of 4 scales in the second row of postgenials (vs. a strong mode of 5 in A. innocens) a shorter first infralabial (Fig. 3D), a longer tail (Fig. 3A), higher caudal annular counts (17-21 vs. 9-15), caudal autotomy, greater “difference counts” of body annuli, proportionately larger (longer) posterior body annuli, less difference in the length of the annular segments between dorsum and venter, and in proportionately larger hemipenes ornamented with larger pleats. 
CommentIllustrations: Cochran, 1941; Gans and Alexander, 1962 (as A. innocens caudalis). 
  • Cochran, D. M. 1928. The herpetological collections made in Haiti and its adjoining islands by Walter J. Eyerdam. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 41: 53-59. - get paper here
  • Cochran, D.M. 1941. The herpetology of Hispaniola. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 177: vii + 398 pp. - get paper here
  • Gans, Carl 1967. A check list of recent amphisbaenians (Amphisbaenia, Reptilia). Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 135:61-106. - get paper here
  • Gans, Carl & Alexander, A. Allen 1962. Studies on amphisbaenids (Amphisbaenia, Reptilia). 2. On the amphisbaenids of the Antilles. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 128 (3): 65-158 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Thomas, R. & Hedges, S.B. 2006. Two New Species of Amphisbaena (Reptilia: Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) from the Tiburon Peninsula of Haiti. Carib. J. Sci. 42 (2): 208-219 - get paper here
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