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Blanus vandellii CERÍACO & BAUER, 2018

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Higher TaxaBlanidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata
Common NamesE: Vandelli’s Worm Lizard 
SynonymBlanus vandellii CERÍACO & BAUER 2018 
DistributionPortugal, SE Spain

Type locality: Carvoeiro, Mação (39.6244 N, −7.923056 E; WGS-84), Portugal  
TypesHolotype: MB = MUHNAC 03-000372, adult male, collected by Albano Soares on 17 April 1987. 
DiagnosisAs noted in Albert and Fernández (2009), the morphological distinction of the two Iberian species of Blanus is not straightforward, as there are no discrete external morphological characters that allow an unambiguous identification of each species. Comparisons between Albert and Fernández (2009) and the specimens analysed in this study are presented in Table 2. Through the analysis of the limited available material and the data presented by Albert and Fernández (2009) the new species can be distinguished from B. cinereus by smaller snout–vent length (74–200 mm fide Albert and Fernández (2009); 102.4–189 mm our measurements) in B. vandellii versus (85– 253 mm fide Albert and Fernández (2009); 130–210 mm our measurements) in B. cinereus, a higher number of dorsal segments (14–20 in B. vandellii versus 13–17 in B. cinereus fide Albert and Fernández (2009) and ventral segements (14–20 in B. vandellii versus 13–18 in B. cinereus fide Albert and Fernández (2009). In general, B. vandellii is a smaller, less bulky animal than B. cinereus. However, these characters are not particularly useful, and only in some animals (e.g. animals with more than 18 dorsal segments) is it possible to use them to unambiguously differentitate the two species. As noted by Albert and Fernández (2009), there are also differences between the two species at several positions in their ‘Anonymous Unknown Nuclear Gene.’ These authors also highlighted the deep mitochondrial (ND4) divergence between the two species but did not provide any associated diagnostic molecular characters. 
CommentDistribution: see map in CERÍACO & BAUER 2018: 18 
EtymologyThe species is named after Domingos Vandelli, founder of modern Portuguese natural history and describer of the first Iberian Blanus. 
  • Albert, Eva M. and Adrián Fernández 2009. Evidence of cryptic speciation in a fossorial reptile: description of a new species of Blanus (Squamata: Amphisbaenia: Blanidae) from the Iberian Peninsula. Zootaxa 2234: 56-68 - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis M. P. & Aaron M. Bauer 2018. An integrative approach to the nomenclature and taxonomic status of the genus Blanus Wagler, 1830 (Squamata: Blanidae) from the Iberian Peninsula. Journal of Natural History 52: 849-880 - get paper here
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