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Dalophia pistillum (BOETTGER, 1895)

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Pestle-Tailed Worm Lizard 
SynonymMonopeltis pistillum BOETTGER 1895
Monopeltis granti BOULENGER 1907
Monopeltis colobura BOULENGER 1910
Monopeltis jallae PERACCA 1910
Monopeltis colobura — LOVERIDGE 1920: 145
Monopeltis granti transvaalensis FITZSIMONS 1933
Monopeltis mossambica COTT 1934
Monopeltis granti transvaalensis — MONARD 1937: 67
Monopeltis granti kuanyamarum MONARD 1937: 67
Dalophia pistillum — LOVERIDGE 1941
Monopeltis granti granti — FITZSIMONS 1943: 386
Monopeltis granti colobura — FITZSIMONS 1943: 388
Monopeltis granti transvaalensis — FITZSIMONS 1943: 389
Tomuropeltis pistillum — BROADLEY 1962
Dalophia pistillum — AUERBACH 1987: 142
Tomuropeltis pistillum — FRANK & RAMUS 1995
Tomuropeltis granti — FRANK & RAMUS 1995
Tomuropeltis granti colobura
Tomuropeltis granti transvaalensis
Tomuropeltis jallae
Dalophia pistillum — GANS 2005: 31
Dalophia transvaalensis — GANS 2005: 31
Dalophia pistillum — LONGRICH et al. 2015
Dalophia pistillum — PIETERSEN et al. 2021 
DistributionN Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Republic of South Africa (Cape Province, Transvaal), Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia

Type locality: Sambesi, Ostafrika  
TypesSyntypes: SMF 11833 (formerly 5455 2a), three specimens
Holotype: MSNG 37466 [jallae] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium to large (320 to 560 mm. snout-vent length in adults) species of Dalophia, with the dorsal surface (generally to just ventral of the lateral sulci, sometimes irregularly more ventral, particularly beneath the tail) with gray speckling that may concentrate along the annular and segmental edges. The species has 280 to 352 body, two to five lateral and 19 to 33 caudal annuli, 17 to 30 (generally 20, 22, or 24) dorsal plus 12 to 17 (generally 14) ventral segments to a midbody annulus and two to six (usually four) first and seven to 14 (generally nine to 10) second postgenials. The azygous head shields are broadly fused and only blind lateral sutures remain (absent in one specimen). The most heavily keratinized zone does not reach the parietal edge of the shield and is also scalloped medially over the blind sutures. There are no preoculars. The nasals are usually in median contact and usually just fail to reach the lip, their slender posterior processes (or asymmetrically split off postnasals) usually contact the oculars. There are four (rarely six) parietal shields. The pectoral region has six elongate shields, often somewhat irregularly arranged and with the medial pair much the widest posteriorly. The four midventral segments of the precloacal annulus are enlarged and more or less wedged between the medial and adjoining pairs of pectorals. Lateral and middorsal sulci are clearly expressed, particularly in larger specimens. Additions or subtractions of dorsal half-annuli are few, but occur mainly in the second 50 body annuli. The species lacks a herringbone pattern of dorsal interannular sutures on the trunk as well as caudal autotomy. The middorsal segments of the tail may be partially or completely fused across the midline. The interannular sutures here form an anteriorly acute set of angles with the median (their points are often rounded). Each leg of the chevron is as wide as three or four more anterior segments. [See section on geographic variation.] (Broadley et al. 1976: 463) 
CommentSynonymy: LAURENT (1964) considered this form distinct and possibly would include granti and transvaalensis in its synonymy (after GANS 1967). FITZSIMONS (1943) included ellenbergeri in the synonymy of T. granti (after GANS 1967). Synonymy modified after Broadley et al. (1976).

Subspecies: Loveridge (1941) considered both all subspecies of Tomuropeltis granti as synonyms of T. pistillum. LAURENT (1964) considered mossambica a valid species (or race) as well as colobura, the latter with luluae as a subspecies. 
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Boettger, OSKAR 1895. Zwei neue Reptilien vom Zambesi. Zool. Anz. 18: 62-63. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1910. A revised list of the South African reptiles and batrachians, with synoptic tables, special reference to the specimens in the South African Museum, and descriptions of new species. Annals of the South African Museum 5: 455-543 - get paper here
  • Boulenger,G.A. 1907. Second report on the reptiles and batrachians collected in South Africa by Mr. C.H.B. Grant, and presented to the British Museum by Mr. C.D. Rudd. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1907: 478-487 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1962. On some reptile collections from the North-Western and North-Eastern Districts of Southern Rhodesia 1958-1961, with descriptions of four new lizards. Occ. Pap. Nat. Mus. South. Rhodesia 26 (B): 787-843
  • Conradie W and Branch WR. 2016. The herpetofauna of the Cubango, Cuito, and lower Cuando river catchments of south-eastern Angola. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 10 (2) [Special Section]: 6–36 - get paper here
  • Conradie W, Keates C, Verburgt L, Baptista NL, Harvey J, Júlio T, Neef G. 2022. Contributions to the herpetofauna of the Angolan Okavango-Cuando-Zambezi River drainages. Part 2: Lizards (Sauria), chelonians, and crocodiles. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 16(2): 181–214 (e322) - get paper here
  • Cott, HUGH 1934. The Zoological Society's expedition to the Zambesi, 1927. No. 5. On a collection of lizards, mainly from East Africa, with description of new species of Zonurus, Monopeltis, and Chirindia. Proc. Zool. Soc. London (no. 5): 145-173. - get paper here
  • Farooq, Harith; Cristóvão Nanvonamuquitxo, Bibiana Nassongole, Werner Conradie, Roger Bills, Amadeu Soares, and Alexandre Antonelli 2022. Shedding Light on a Biodiversity Dark Spot: Survey Of Amphibians and Reptiles of Pemba Region in Northern Mozambique. Herpetological Conservation and Biology 17 (2): - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • FitzSimons, VIVIAN 1933. Description of five new lizards from the Transvaal and Southern Rhodesia. Annals Transvaal Mus. 15 (2): 273-280. - 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
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Laurent, R.F. 1964. Reptiles et batraciens de l'Angola (troisième contribution). Companhia de Di amantes de Angola (Diamang), Serviços Culturais, Museu do Dundo (Angola), No. 67, 165 pp.
  • Longrich, Nicholas R.; Jakob Vinther , R. Alexander Pyron , Davide Pisani , Jacques A. Gauthier 2015. Biogeography of worm lizards (Amphisbaenia) driven by end-Cretaceous mass extinction. Proc Biol Sci. 2015 May 7;282(1806). pii: 20143034. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.3034. - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1920. Notes on East African lizards collected 1915-1919, with description of a new genus and species of skink and new subspecies of gecko. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1920: 131-167 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, ARTHUR 1941. Revision of the African lizards of the family Amphisbaenidae. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 87: 353-451. - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Monard, ALBERT 1937. Contribution à l'herpétologie d'Angola. Arq. Mus. Bocage, Lisbon 8:19-153.
  • Peracca, MARIO GIACINTO 1910. Rettili raccolti nell'alto Zambese (Barotseland) dal Signor Cav. Luiga Jalla. Boll. Mus. Zool. Univ. Torino., 25 (624): 1-6.
  • Pietersen DW, Pietersen EW, Conradie W. 2017. Preliminary herpetological survey of Ngonye Falls and surrounding regions in south-western Zambia. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 11(1) [Special Section]: 24–43 (e148 - get paper here
  • Pietersen, Darren, Verburgt, Luke & Davies, John 2021. Snakes and other reptiles of Zambia and Malawi. Struik Nature / Penguin Random House South Africa, 376 pp., ISBN 9781775847373
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