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Amphisbaena prunicolor (COPE, 1885)

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Plum-colored Worm Lizard
Portuguese: Anfisbena-Marrom, Cobra-de-Duas-Cabeças-Marrom 
SynonymAporarchus prunicolor COPE 1885: 189
Amphisbaena darwini — BOULENGER 1885: 297 (in part)
Amphisbaena prunicolor prunicolor— GANS 1966: 246
Amphisbaena prunicolor — PETERS et al. 1970: 35
Amphisbaena prunicolor— VANZOLINI 2002: 358
Amphisbaena prunicolor — GANS 2005: 19
Amphisbaena prunicolor — PEREZ et al. 2012
Amphisbaena prunicolor — PEREZ & BORGES-MARTINS 2019 
DistributionN Argentina (Corrientes, Misiones), SE Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul to Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro), Paraguay

Type locality: Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, probably São João do Monte Negro (”where the prinicpal collections were made by H. Smith”).  
TypesHolotype: ANSP 12969. 
DiagnosisOriginal description from COPE (1885): The genus [Aporarchus] has been defined in the key under the head of the species Anops kingii. It is simply Amphisbaena without preanal pores.
The only specimen on which the species rests is of smaller size than those which represent the species enumerated in the above table, excepting the A. occidentalis, which is the smallest of the genus.
Rostral plate scarcely visible from above; common suture of nasals short; nasofrontals each as long as broad; frontals each longer than broad; a pair of well distinguished square parietals. Labial, 3-3, the third reaching the ocular, so that there is no subocular. No superciliary or preorbital plate. Three plates in the row from canthus oris to frontal plate. Symphyseal broader than long, truncate posteriorly; postsymphyseal broad as long, subcircular, each half bounded by the postgeneial, and first and second labials to an extent represented by the order of mention. Last inferior labial twice as long as deep. Annuli 186 on the body and 23 on the tail. Preanal scales eight, the row preceded by a groove which is wider than the others. Tail obtuse, caudal annuli entirely smooth.
Total length, M. .214; of head to canthus oris, .006; of tail, .029.
Color, uniform plum-color above and below, excepting the lower jaw, chin and part of pectoral region and a postanal crescent, which are white. All the grooves of the inferior surface are white also, so that the animal has a latticed appearance below.

Diagnosis: Amphisbaena prunicolor is characterized by the following characters: (1) rounded head; (2) tail tip rounded, with smooth segments; (3) four precloacal pores; (4) dark brown, purplish coloration, with uniformly pigmented segments on dorsum and belly with checkered pattern [from PEREZ & BORGES-MARTINS 2019].

Comparison: Amphisbaena prunicolor is distinguished from all species of the A. darwinii complex, mainly by having a dorsal brown-purplish coloration and a ventral pale checkerboard pattern (vs. ventral uniformly colored). It also differs from A. trachura by presenting smooth segments the tail tip (vs. tuberculate segments on tail tip). Differs from A. nigricauda by presenting 181-215 body annuli (vs. 222-226 body annuli). It differs from A. hogei and A. heterozonata by presenting a higher number of caudal annuli, 18-27 (vs. 15-19 and 13-17, respectively). Differs from A. darwinii by its quadrangular parietal shields different from others body shields (vs. parietal region with variable shaped shields nondifferentiable from body shields). It differs from A. albocingulata by presenting a post-malar row (vs. post-malar row absent). Differs from A. munoai by presenting an elongated body, 141-238 mm (SVL) with similar number of body annuli, 181-215 (vs. smaller body, 102-151mm SVL, with similar number of body annuli 202-218 body annuli) and by 5% of 16S rDNA mean genetic distance. It differs from A. arenicola sp. nov. by presenting a longer snout, varying between 44 and 73.5% (x = 55.5±7.4%) of head length (HL) (vs. 42.6-47.9%, (x = 45.9 ± 1.9% of HL) and 4.5% of 16S rDNA mean genetic distance. Differs from Amphisbaena tyaraju sp nov. by presenting a lower distance between ocular shields, varying between 26.8% and 31.9% (x = 29.4 ± 3.6) of HL (vs. larger distance between ocular shields varying between 35.3% and 42.7%, x = 39.5 ± 2.3 of HL) and 5.1% of 16S rDNA mean genetic distance. It differs from A. nana sp. nov. by its similar-sized pre-frontal and frontal shields (vs. reduced frontal shields, smaller than pre-frontal shields) and 4.9% of 16S rDNA mean genetic distance [from PEREZ & BORGES-MARTINS 2019].

See also diagnosis and detailed description in Gans 1966: 246. 
CommentSubspecies: Amphisbaena prunicolor albocingulata BOETTGER 1885 is not considered as a valid species.

Synonymy: Boulenger (1885) synonymized Aporarchus prunicolor to Amphisbaena darwini, based on the evidence that the holotype was a young specimen in which the pores are undistinguishable (or absent), observation also seen in young specimens of A. darwini by Boulenger (1885).

Type Species: Aporarchus prunicolor COPE 1885 is the type species of the genus Aporarchus which is distinguished from Amphisbaena only by the lack of precloacal pores. 
  • Alvarez B B 1996. Geographic Distribution. Amphisbaena prunicolor prunicolor. Herpetological Review 27 (1): 31 - 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
  • Boettger, O. 1885. Liste von Reptilien und Batrachiern aus Paraguay. Zeitschr. Naturw. 58 (3): 213-248 - 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
  • Cope, E.D. 1885. Twelfth contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22: 167-194 [1884] - get paper here
  • Entiauspe-Neto, Omar Machado; Tângela Denise Perleberg and Marco Antonio de Freitas 2016. Herpetofauna from an urban Pampa fragment in southern Brazil: composition, structure and conservation. Check List 12(5): 1964 - get paper here
  • Gans, C. 1966. Studies on amphisbaenids (Amphisbaenia, Reptilia). 3. The small species from southern South America commonly identified as Amphisbaena darwini. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 134: 185-260. - 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
  • LANGNER, C. 2019. Die geheimnisvollen Doppelschleichen (Amphisbaenia) - ein Leben im Untergrund Elaphe 2019 (6): 14-21
  • Montero, Ricardo and Jorge Céspedez 2002. New two-pored Amphisbaena (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae) from Argentina. Copeia 2002 (3): 792-797 - get paper here
  • MOURA, MARIO R.; HENRIQUE C. COSTA, ARTHUR D. ABEGG, ESMERALDA ALAMINOS, TEDDY ANGARITA‐SIERRA, WEVERTON S. AZEVEDO, HUGO CABRAL, PRISCILA CARVALHO, SONIA CECHIN, NATHALIE CITELI, ÂNGELO C.M. DOURADO, ANDRÉ F.V. DUARTE, FREDERICO G.R. FRANÇA, ELIZA M 2022. Unwrapping broken tails: Biological and environmental correlates of predation pressure in limbless reptiles. Journal of Animal Ecology 2022: 1–14. - get paper here
  • Perez, R. & Borges-Martins, M. 2019. Integrative taxonomy of small worm lizards from Southern South America, with description of three new species (Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zool. Anz. 283: 124–141 - get paper here
  • PEREZ, RENATA; SÍRIA RIBEIRO & MÁRCIO BORGES-MARTINS 2012. Reappraisal of the taxonomic status of Amphisbaena prunicolor (Cope 1885) and Amphisbaena albocingulata Boettger 1885 (Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zootaxa 3550: 1–25 - get paper here
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
  • Ribeiro, S.; Vaz-Silva, W. & Santos Jr, A.P. 2008. New pored Leposternon (Squamata, Amphisbaenia) from Brazilian Cerrado. Zootaxa 1930: 18–38 - get paper here
  • Souza Filho, Gilberto Alves de; Fernanda Stender de Oliveira 2015. Squamate reptiles from Mauá Hydroelectric Power Plant, state of Paraná, southern Brazil. Check List 11 (6): 1800 - 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
  • Zaher, Hussam; Fausto Erritto BarboI; Paola Sanchez Martínez; Cristiano Nogueira; Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues; Ricardo Jannini Sawaya 2011. Répteis do Estado de São Paulo: conhecimento atual e perspectivas. Biota Neotropica, 11 (1): 1–15. - get paper here
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