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Amphisbaena sanctaeritae VANZOLINI, 1994

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata
Common Names 
SynonymAmphisbaena sanctaeritae VANZOLINI 1994
Amphisbaena sanctaeritae — GANS 2005
Amphisbaena sanctaeritae — COSTA et al. 2019 
DistributionBrazil (Sao Paulo)

Type locality: Brazil: Santa Rita do Passa Quatro (21°42’S, 47°28’W).  
TypesHolotype: MZUSP 36719. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Amphisbaena sanctaeritae is distinguished from all the other species of Amphisbaenidae by the following combination of characters: (1) head round, not depressed but laterally compressed; (2) prefrontal suture ≥ frontal suture > nasal suture; (3) four precloacal pores without a median hiatus; (4) lateral sulcus present; dorsal and ventral sulci absent; (5) 269–288 body annuli; (6) 2–3 lateral annuli; (7) 18–20 caudal annuli; (8) autotomy on 6th or 7th caudal annulus, not always perceptible; (9) tail with similar width along its length, slightly laterally compressed at distal part; (10) 10 dorsal and 14 ventral segments on midbody annulus; (11) three supralabials; (12) three infralabials; (13) one or two rows of genials; (14) post-malar row with 7–8 scales; (15) post-ocular present, but temporal scale absent, probably fused with third supralabial; (16) a pair of quadrangular or rectangular parietals, with similar size or little larger than adjacent dorsal segments; (17) dorsum with a cream ground color in preservative (probably pinkish in life), slightly to densely speckled with brown; (18) venter cream colored in preservative, probably pinkish in life.
The presence of a round head (not shovel or keel-shaped), four precloacal pores and 269–288 body annuli readily distinguishes Amphisbaena sanctaeritae from all South American amphisbaenians except the following 11 species: A. arenaria Vanzolini 1991b, A. bedai Vanzolini 1991c, A. borelli Peracca, 1897, A. cuiabana Strüssman and Carvalho, 2001, A. frontalis Vanzolini 1991b, A. hastata Vanzolini 1991a, A. occidentalis Cope, 1875, A. plumbea Gray, 1872, A. polygrammica Werner, 1901, A. steindachneri Strauch, 1881, and A. townsendi Stejneger, 1912. Amphisbaena sanctaeritae differs from all 11 species by having 10 dorsal segments at a midbody annulus (≥ 12 in the other species). The number of ventral segments at a midbody annulus (14) further distinguishes it from A. bedai (16–18), A. borelli (16–20), A. hastata (16), A. occidentalis (24–28), A. plumbea (20–30), A. polygrammica (26), and A. townsendi (24–28). It also differs from A. arenaria, A. bedai, A. borelli, A. cuiabana, A. frontalis, and A. steindachneri by having a row of post-malar scales. Finally, A. sanctaeritae further differs from A. arenaria, A. bedai, and A. borelli by having precloacal pores in a continuous series (vs. with a median hiatus), from A. borelli and A. cuiabana by lacking a dorsal sulcus, and from A. borelli, A. cuiabana, and A. steindachneri by lacking a vertical keel at tail tip (Costa et al. 2019). 
CommentAmphisbaena sanctaeritae is a small, slender species, uniformly colored, with four preanal pores, 269 body annuli, 12/12 segments to a body annulus, autotomy on the 7th caudal annulus.

Abundance: only known from the type specimen (Meiri et al. 2017). 
  • Costa, Henrique C.; Sofia Velasquez, Hussam Zaher, Paulo C.A. Garcia 2019. Updated Diagnosis of Amphisbaena metallurga and A. sanctaeritae and First Record of A. hiata in Brazil (Squamata: Amphisbaenidae). South American J. Herp. 14 (3): 233-241 - 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
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - 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
  • Vanzolini,P.E. 1994. New species of Amphisbaena from State of Sao Paulo, Brasil. Pap. Avul. Zool., Sao Paulo 39 (3): 29-32
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