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Anguis fragilis LINNAEUS, 1758

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Anguinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Slow Worm
G: Blindschleiche
NL: hazelworm
Croatian: sljepić
Russian: Ломкая веретеница 
SynonymAnguis fragilis LINNAEUS 1758: 229
Anguis orvet LACÉPÈDE 1789 in MERTENS & WERMUTH 1960: 86
Anguis gamma ROUBIEU 1825 (fide BRYGOO 1987)
Anguis fragilis — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 792
Anguis fragilis — BOULENGER 1885: 297
Anguis fragiles — LOPEZ-SEOANE 1885: 18 (in error)
Anguis fragilis — ENGELMANN et al 1993
Anguis fragilis — GVOŽDÍK et al. 2010
Anguis fragilis — GVOŽDIK et al. 2013
Anguis fragilis — SPEYBROECK et al. 2020 
DistributionFinland, Norway, Sweden, England (incl. Channel islands Guernsey, Herm, Jethou, Jersey), Ireland, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, France, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece (incl. Corfu = Corfou), Croatia (incl. Krk etc.), Slovenia, Bosnia and Hercegovina, MonteNegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Poland, Turkey (from Trabzon, Hopa) [Clark & Clark 1973]

Soviet Union: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Caucasus, central and S Europe, Asia Minor

Africa: Algeria, Tunisia

Type locality: Sweden [restricted by Mertens and L Müller, 1928].  
TypesHolotype: UUZM (= ZMUU) 156 
CommentSubspecies: Anguis fragilis peloponnesiacus STEPANEK 1937 has been synonymized with A. cephallonica.

Limb morphology: Limbless.

Anguis is female as based on LINNAEUS’ original use.

Type species: Anguis fragilis is the type species of the genus Anguis LINNAEUS 1758. the genus Anguis LINNAEUS 1758 is the type genus of the subfamily Anguinae.

Phylogenetics: For a phylogenetic analysis of the whole subfamily Anguinae see Lavin & Girman 2018.

Taxonomy: Gvoždík et al. (2013) suggested to distinguish 5 genetic species of Anguis: graeca, colchica, fragilis, cinerea, and cephallonica. The 5 species cannot be diagnosed morphologically although they clearly form genetic clades. A detailed morphological analysis of the entire genus is under preparation (Benkovsky ́ et al., in preparation, cited in Gvoždík et al. 2013).

Distribution: see map in Gvoždík et al. (2013) and Jablonski et al. 2016: 3 (Fig. 1), Jablonski et al. 2021: Fig. 1, Benkovský et al. 2021: Fig. 1. If colchicus is recognized as valid species fragilis will have to be removed from several countries. For instance, colchicus occurs in Iran, but fragilis does not. Similarly, there is not fragilis in Romania, only colchica (Vörös et al. 2012). Not in Italy where only veronensis occurs.

Karyotype: 2n = 44 (Altmanová et al. 2022) 
Etymology“fragilis”, Latin for fragile, also related to “fragment”, after the tail that easily breaks off.

The genus name Anguis is Latin for snake.

The German “Blindschleiche” does not mean the species is blind, but rather derives from Old German “Plintslicho”, meaning “shining” or “gleaming” from it’s smooth skin (Langner 2019). 
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