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Amphisbaena frontalis VANZOLINI, 1991

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesPortuguese: Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças, Cobra-Cega
Portuguese: Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças-da-Terra [ibijara] 
SynonymAmphisbaena frontalis VANZOLINI 1991
Amphisbaena ibijara RODRIGUES, ANDRADE & DIAS-LIMA 2003
Amphisbaena ibijara — GANS 2005: 15
Amphisbaena frontalis — GANS 2005: 14
Amphisbaena aff. frontalis — MADEIROS-MAGALHÃES et al. 2015
Amphisbaena frontalis — RIBEIRO et al. 2022 
DistributionNE Brazil (Bahia, Piauí)

Type locality: Brazil: Bahia: Alagoado (09°29’S, 41°21’W).

ibijara: Brazil (Maranhão); Type locality: Fazenda Santo Amaro, Brazil (03° 13’ 34’’ - 03° 14’ 58’’ S, 43° 24’ 59’’ - 43° 25’ 45’’ W), elevation 41 m, Urbano Santos, Maranhão, Brazil.  
TypesHolotype: MZUSP 72989. Paratypes: MZUSP 72990–72997.
Holotype: MZUSP 91989 [ibijara] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Preanal pores 4. Body annuli 252-272; tail annuli 23-29; autotomy level 6-7; segments to a midbody annulus 14-16/14-16. No fusions of head scales. Frontals the longest scales on top of the head, characteristically elongate, tapering behind. Parientals inconspicuous. Three upper labiais, the second by far the largest. Symphysial wedge-shaped, narrow. Post-symphysial irregular, octagonal to elliptic. (Vanzolini 1991).

Description: A medium sized species (maximum body length, 10 specimens, 284 mm). Head convex, narrow, snout seen from the top rounded, from the side spatulate.
Median sutures of the head in the following order of decreasing length: frontal, prefrontal, nasal. Frontals a little asymmetrical, with arcuate front edges converging forward, forming an obtuse angle; meeting the oculars below; with lateral edges, slightly bowed laterally, converging behind, truncate. Parietals very slightly enlarged. Three upper labials, the second very large, touching the postero-inferior corner of the prefrontal. Ocular irregularly trapezoid, followed by a very large squarish postocular, the largest scale on head or slightly smaller than the prefrontal; below this a large square postlabial, in contact with the first body annulus. Nostril near the lower angle of the nasal.
Symphysial relatively narrow, with sides converging behind; posterior tip truncate. Post-symphysial varying from polygonal (octagonal or heptagonal, always with irregular sides and angles) to elliptic, with one or both ends pointed. Three lower labiais, the second very large, the third minute. Lateral genials short, broad, irregular, on one side reaching the oral rim behind the third lower labial. Scales behind the post-symphysial very variable, the most regular pattern comprising a row of six small genials and, between these and the post-symphysial, two other rows; the anterior one made of two scales that embrace the postsymphysial, their pointed tips extending forward, insinuated between the post-symphysial and the second labial; the next row with five scales pointed in front. All these elements subject to variation and disorganization.
On the body, no dorsal or ventral sulci. Lateral sulci conspicuous from about annulus 44 back. Dorsal and ventral segments poorly aligned longitudinally; sulci between annuli deep and regular. Segments a little longer than wide.
Anal flap with six scales, the lateral wider. Four preanal pores, placed against the hind edge of the segments, small, in some specimens ill-formed, practically cicatricial. Postanal rim prominent, forming a broad palisade with 15-16 narrow, irregular segments.
Tail relatively long, in one specimen slightly clavate, well segmented to the tip, the segments still less well aligned than those on the body. (Vanzolini 1991).

Color pattern: dorsally, head smudged with dark brown; body brown, center of segments a little darker, the contrast increasing laterally; segment edges lighter, forming with the sulci between annuli a checkerboard pattern. Lateral sulcus lighter that the dorsum, with groups of melanophores. Anteriorly (from the neck to approximately annulus 20) the segments below the sulcus dark, turning lighter ventrally, the belly throughout light yellow, immaculate; behind this level, one to five segments below the sulcus light brown with dark centers. Tail dorsally patterned as the body, ventrally more or less heavily smudged. (Vanzolini 1991). 
CommentSynonymy: Ribeiro et al. 2022 synonymized Amphisbaena ibijara RODRIGUES et al. 2003 with A. frontailis. 
EtymologyNamed after the very characteristic shape of the frontal scales of the new form.

Amphisbaena ibijara was named after the local Tupi language word for amphisbaenians, meaning “lord of the ground” or ground inhabitant. 
  • Amorim, Darciane Maria de; Igor Joventino Roberto and Robson Waldemar Ávila 2014. Distribution extension of Amphisbaena ibijara Rodrigues, Andrade & Lima, 2003 (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae). Herpetology Notes 7: 451-452 - 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
  • Gomes, J.O., A.O. Maciel, J.C.L. Costa & G.V. Andrade 2009. Diet Composition in Two Sympatric Amphisbaenian Species (Amphisbaena ibijara and Leposternon polystegum) from the Brazilian Cerrado Journal of Herpetology 43 (3): 377-384. - get paper here
  • Gonzalez R. C. et al. 2020. Lista dos Nomes Populares dos Répteis no Brasil – Primeira Versão. Herpetologia Brasileira 9 (2): 121 – 214 - get paper here
  • Madella-Auricchio, Cláudia Renata; Paulo Auricchio Enio Saraiva Soares 2017. Reptile species composition in the Middle Gurguéia and comparison with inventories in the eastern Parnaíba River Basin, State of Piauí, Brazil. Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia 57(28): 375-386, - get paper here
  • Medeiros-Magalhães, Felipe de; Daniel Orsi Laranjeiras, Taís Borges Costa, Flora Acuña Juncá, Daniel Oliveira Mesquita, David Lucas Röhr, Willianilson Pessoa da Silva, Gustavo Henrique Calazans Vieira, Adrian Antonio Garda 2015. Herpetofauna of protected areas in the Caatinga IV: Chapada Diamantina National Park, Bahia, Brazil. Herpetology Notes 8: 243-261 - get paper here
  • Ribeiro, Leonardo B.; Samuel C. Gomides, and Henrique C. Costa 2020. A New Worm Lizard Species (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae: Amphisbaena) with Non-autotomic Tail, from Northeastern Brazil. Journal of Herpetology 54 (1): 9-18 - get paper here
  • Ribeiro, Marco Antônio; Síria Ribeiro, Carlos Eduardo D. Cintra, Jerriane Oliveira Gomes 2022. Amphisbaena ibijara Rodrigues, Andrade and Lima, 2003 is a Junior Synonym of Amphisbaena frontalis Vanzolini, 1991 (Squamata, Amphisbaenia). Journal of Herpetology 56 (2): 234–240
  • Rodrigues, M.T. 2003. Herpetofauna da Caatinga. In: I.R. Leal, M. Tabarelli & J.M.C. Silva (eds.). Ecologia e conservação da Caatinga, pp. 181-236. Editora Universitária, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Recife, Brasil.
  • Rodrigues, M.T.; Andrade, G.V. & Dias Lima J. 2003. A new species of Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae) from state of Maranhão, Brazil. Phyllomedusa 2 (1): 21-26 - get paper here
  • TEIXEIRA, MAURO JUNIOR; FRANCISCO DAL VECHIO, MIGUEL TREFAUT RODRIGUES 2016. Diagnostic clarification, new morphological data and phylogenetic placement of Amphisbaena arenaria Vanzolini, 1991 (Amphisbaenia, Amphisbaenidae). Zootaxa 4205 (3): 293–296 - get paper here
  • Vanzolini P E 1991. Two further new species of Amphisbaena from the semi-arid northeast of Brasil (Reptilia, Amphisbaenia). Pap. Avul. Zool., Sao Paulo 37 (23): 347-361
  • Vanzolini, P.E. 2002. AN AID TO THE IDENTIFICATION OF THE SOUTH AMERICAN SPECIES OF AMPHISBAENA (SQUAMATA, AMPHISBAENIDAE). Pap. Avul. Zool., Sao Paulo 42(15):351-362 - get paper here
  • Vechio, Francisco Dal; Mauro Teixeira Jr., Renato Sousa Recoder, Miguel Trefault Rodrigues & Hussam Zaher 2016. The herpetofauna of Parque Nacional da Serra das Confusões, state of Piauí, Brazil, with a regional species list from an ecotonal area of Cerrado and Caatinga. Biota Neotropica 16(3): e20150105 - get paper here
  • Ribeiro, L. B., Gomides, S. C., & Costa, H. C. 2018. A New Species of Amphisbaena from Northeastern Brazil (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae). Journal of Herpetology 52 (2): 234–241 - get paper here
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