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Amphisbaena mertensii STRAUCH, 1881

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mertens' Worm Lizard
Portuguese: Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças-de-Mertens, Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças 
SynonymAmphisbaena mertensii STRAUCH 1881
Amphisbaena bohlsii BOULENGER 1894: 344
Amphisbaena mattogrossensis PERACCA 1898
Amphisbaena carruccii MASI 1911
Amphisbaena boulengeri MASI 1911
Amphisbaena albissima AMARAL 1932
Amphisbaena mertensi — CEI 1993
Amphisbaena mertensii — GANS 2005: 17
Amphisbaena mertensii — CACCIALI et al. 2016 
DistributionSE Brazil (Goias, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso, Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul, Sao Paulo, Parana, Santa Catarina), N Argentina (Corrientes, Chaco, Formosa, Misiones), E Paraguay (Amambay, Caaguazú, Canindeyú, Central, Distrito Capital, Guairá, Itapuá, Paraguarí, San Pedro)

Type locality: ‘‘Wahrscheinlich an irgend einem Küstenpunkte Süd Amerikas’’; restricted to ‘‘State of São Paulo Brazil” (Gans, 1966a).  
TypesHolotype: ZISP (ZIL) 311. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Gans 1966: 542

MZUFV 1449 measures 400 mm SVL and presents 242 body annuli, six caudal annuli (autotomized), 20 dorsal and 22 ventral midbody segments, three supralabials, three infralabials (Fig. 1), characteristics typical of Amphisbaena mertensii (Gans 1966). However, the number of precloacal pores (four) is outside the known range for this species, previously reported as five to eight, usually six (Gans 1966, Silveira et al. 2012). This is a rare condition that is noteworthy since the number of precloacal pores is a taxonomic character for amphisbaenians (Gans and Alexander 1962, Vanzolini 2002, Assis et al. 2022). 
CommentSynonymy: mostly after Gans 1966., 2005.

Type: MSNTO R2089 (Amphisbaena mattogrossensis PERACCA 1898)

Distribution: see map in Assis et al. 2022 (Fig 2). 
EtymologyNamed after Robert Friedrich Wilhelm Mertens (1894-1975), German zoologist and herpetologist who was born in St. Petersburg. He left Russia (1912) to study medicine and natural history, obtaining his doctorate from Universitat Leipzig (1915). 
  • Aguirre, David; Martín Ortiz, Alejandra Hernando 2017. Testicular cycle of Amphisbaena mertensii Strauch, 1881 (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) in northeastern Argentina. Herpetology Notes 10: 141-145 - get paper here
  • Alvarez B B 1996. Geographic Distribution. Amphisbaena mertensii. Herpetological Review 27 (1): 31 - get paper here
  • Amaral, A. do 1933. Estudos sobre Lacertilios neotropicos. I. novos generos e especies de largartos do Brasil. Mem. Inst. Butantan 7 [1932]: 51-75 - get paper here
  • Andrade, Denis V.; Nascimento, Luciana B.; Abe, Augusto S. 2006. Habits hidden underground: a review on the reproduction of the Amphisbaenia with notes on four neotropical species. Amphibia-Reptilia 27 (2): 207-217 - get paper here
  • ASSIS, CLODOALDO LOPES; LUCAS ROSADO MENDONÇA, RENATO NEVES FEIO & HENRIQUE CALDEIRA COSTA. 2022. Amphisbaena mertensii (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae): Notes on natural history, distribution, and morphology. Caldasia 44(3). - get paper here
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; LORENA ELIZABETH MARTINEZ & MARIANA MORANDO 2013. Checklist of lizards and amphisbaenians of Argentina: an update. Zootaxa 3616 (3): 201–238 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Bérnils, R.S.; Batista, M.A. & Bertelli, P.W. 2001. Cobras e lagartos do Vale: levantamento das espécies de Squamata (Reptilia, Lepidosauria) da Bacia do Rio Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brasil. Rev. Est. Ambientais (Blumenau) 3 (1): 69-79
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1894. List of reptiles and batachians collected by Dr. T. Bohls near Asuncion, Paraguay. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 13: 342-348 - get paper here
  • Cacciali, Pier; Norman J. Scott, Aida Luz Aquino Ortíz, Lee A. Fitzgerald, and Paul Smith 2016. The Reptiles of Paraguay: Literature, Distribution, and an Annotated Taxonomic Checklist. SPECIAL PUBLICATION OF THE MUSEUM OF SOUTHWESTERN BIOLOGY, NUMBER 11: 1–373 - get paper here
  • Corrêa BAAP, Meneses ASO 2020. Distribution extension and a new state record for Amphisbaena mertensi Strauch, 1881 (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae) in central Brazil. Check List 16(3): 655-659 - get paper here
  • Falcione, Camila and Alejandra Hernando 2010. A new karyotypic formula for the genus Amphisbaena (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae). Phyllomedusa 9 (1): 75-80 - get paper here
  • Gans, C. 1966. Redescription of Amphisbaena mertensi Strauch, with Comments on Its Geographic Variation and Synonymy (Amphisbaenia: Reptilia) Copeia 1966 (3): 534-548. - 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
  • 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
  • Lourenco de Moraes, Ricardo and Meline Dal Posso Recchia. 2011. Amphisbaena mertensi (ncn) habitat. Herpetological Review 42 (3): 426 - get paper here
  • Masi, LUIGI 1911. Due nuove specie di Amphisbaena della Repubblica argentina. Boll. Soc. Zool. Italiana, ser. 2, vol. 12, nos 9-12, pp. 229-234.
  • Neto, A.P.C. & A.S. Abe 1993. Diet Composition of Two Syntopic Species of Neotropical Amphisbaenians, Cercolophia roberti and Amphisbaena mertensii Journal of Herpetology 27 (2): 239-240. - get paper here
  • Neves MO, Yves A, Pereira EA, Alves L, Vasques JB, Coelho JFT, Silva PS 2019. Herpetofauna in a highly endangered area: the Triângulo Mineiro region, in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Herpetozoa 32: 113-123 - get paper here
  • Peracca, M.G. 1898. Descrizione di una nuova specie di amfisbena del Brasile. Boll. Mus. Zool. Univ. Torino, 13 (326): 1-2
  • Ribeiro, S. L. B.; A. P. Santos-Jr; W. Vaz-Silva 2007. Reptilia, Squamata, Amphisbaenidae, Amphisbaena mertensi: Distribution extension, new state record, geographic distribution map. Check List 3 (2):84-87 - get paper here
  • Silveira, A.L.; V.L.C. Brites; R.V. Valinhas. 2012. First record of Amphisbaena mertensi Strauch, 1881 (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) in Minas Gerais state, Brazil. Check List 8(1):161-163 - get paper here
  • Strauch,A. 1881. Bemerkungen über die Eidechsenfamilie der Amphisbaeniden. Mel. Biol. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg 11: 355-479 (reprinted: Bull. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg 28: 45-131) - get paper here
  • Strussmann, Christine & Tami Mott 2009. Sympatric amphisbaenids from Manso Dam region, Mato Grosso State, Western Brazil, with the description of a new two-pored species of Amphisbaena (Squamata, Amphisbaenidae). Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment, 44 (1): 37 – 46 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Vaz-Silva, W. et al. 2007. Herpetofauna, Espora Hydroelectric Power Plant, state of Goiás, Brazil. Check List 3 (4): 338-345 - get paper here
  • Zaracho, Víctor Hugo; Ingaramo, María del Rosario; Semhan, Romina Valeria; Etchepare, Eduardo; Acosta, José Luis; Falcione, Ana Camila; Álvarez, Blanca 2014. Herpetofauna de la Reserva Natural Provincial Isla Apipé Grande (Corrientes, Argentina). Cuad. herpetol. 28 (2): 153-160 - get paper here
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