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Ancylocranium somalicum (SCORTECCI, 1931)

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesAncylocranium somalicum somalicum (SCORTECCI 1931)
Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri GANS & KOCHVA 1966 
Common NamesE: Somali Sharp-snouted Worm Lizard 
SynonymAnops somalicus SCORTECCI 1931: 6
Ancylocranium somalicum — PARKER 1942: 57
Ancylocranium somalicum — LANZA 1983
Ancylocranium somalicum — GANS 2005: 22

Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri GANS & KOCHVA 1966
Ancylocranium somalicum parkeri — LANZA 1983
Ancylocranium parkeri — GANS 2005: 22 
DistributionSomalia, Ethiopia

Type locality: ‘‘Caitoi, Uebi Scebeli’’, Somali Republic.

parkeri: NW Somalia  
TypesLectotype: MRSN (= MZUT, Torino, also cited as IMZUT) 3556 (Gans and Kochva, 1966: 93). Lectoparatype: MSNM 1294 (Benadir Province, Somali Republic).
Holotype: BMNH 1958.1.3.49. Paratypes: BMNH 1958.1.3.50, 1958.1.3.51 [parkeri] 
DiagnosisDEFINITION (genus). Snout compressed, raised into a keel, formed by the premaxilla, nasals, frontals, and part of the parietal plate. Superior aspect of keel raised far above level of parietal surface, its posterior aspect may have a horn-like posterior projection. Basipterygoid processes, partes posteriores choanarum and supratemporals absent. Quadrate variably dilated proximally. Stapes very large, with prominent extracolumella adjacent to lateral aspect of quadrate. Rostral shield enormous, heavily keratinized. Second infralabials markedly enlarged. forming the largest shields on the lower jaw (from Gans & Kochva 1966)

Key to the genera of keel-headed amphisbaenids (from Gans & Kochva 1966):

Head modified into a vertical keel by strong lateral compression of its anterior aspect; rostral keel covered with a more or less pronounced layer of keratin expressed as a single shield.

1. Shield relatively narrow, paralleled posteriorly by one or two inclined series of vertically elongate segments anterior to the ocular; nostril pierced in discrete nasal segment; menIal and postmental relatively wide, of approximately equal area to first plus second infraJabials; no marked post-cephalic fold (cr. Fig. 3, 4 in Gans and Rhodes, 1964) (South America) --> Anops Bell

Shield wide; nostril in discrete segment or in anterior shield; mental and postmental(s) relatively narrow, fused or not, separating a pair of verY large infralabials; a sharply defined post-cephalic fold or folds (Africa) --> 2.

2. Posterior margin of rostral shield inclined, irregular; second and third supralabials significantly enlarged; two infralabials, the first markedly enlarged (cf. Fig. 5 in Loveridge, 1941) (West Africa) --> Baikia Gray

Posterior margin of rostral shield (and of nasal where present) ascending more or less verti· cally, ]n a smooth, posteriorly swinging curve; supralabials smaller than infralabiaIs. no! enlarged; the second infralabial markedly enlarged (East Africa) --> Ancylocranium Parker. 
CommentType species: Anops somalicus is the type species of the genus Ancylocranium PARKER 1942.

For a key to the species of Ancylocranium, see Gans & Kochva 1966. 
EtymologyNamed after its distribution in Somalia. 
  • Gans, C. 2005. CHECKLIST AND BIBLIOGRAPHY OF THE AMPHISBAENIA OF THE WORLD. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 289: 1-130 - get paper here
  • Gans, C., AND ELAZAR KOCHVA 1966. A systematic review of Ancylocranium (Amphisbaenia: Reptilia). [Notes on amphisbaenids 22]. Israel Jour. Zool. 14: 87-121 [1965]
  • Lanza, B. 1983. A list of the Somali amphibians and reptiles. MONITORE ZOOLOGICO ITALIANO, new Ser., SUPPL. 18 (8): 193-247 - get paper here
  • Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1988] - get paper here
  • Parker, H. W. 1942. The lizards of British Somaliland. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 1—101 - get paper here
  • Scortecci, Giuseppe 1931. Contributo alla conoscenza dei rettili e degli anfibi della Somalia, dell'Eritrea e dell'Abissinia. Boll. Mus. Zool. Univ. Torino, (ser. 3) 41 (10): 1-26 [1930]
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