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Geocalamus acutus STERNFELD, 1912

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Wedge-snouted Worm Lizard 
SynonymGeocalamus acutus STERNFELD 1912: 209
Geocalamus noltei BOETTGER 1913: 270
Geocalamus acutus — LOVERIDGE 1941: 403
Geocalamus acutus — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 20
Geocalamus acutus — GANS 2005: 31
Geocalamus acutus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 317 
DistributionSE Kenya, NE Tanzania

Type locality: Voi, Kenya.
Type locality: Moshi, Tanzania [noltei]  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 21941 (Gans and Kraklau, 1989) 
DiagnosisDescription. Rostral large, its posterior angle inserted between the prefrontals; nasal distinct, between rostral, first and second labials, and prefrontal; a pair of prefrontals; frontal moderate (said to give off a small azygous scale posteriorly in the type of noltei); a pair of postfrontals; no parietals (being fused with postfrontals); a pair of rudimentary occipitals present or absent; no supraocular; no preocular; ocular moderate, eye distinct or hidden; 3 upper labials, first small, second and third larger, subequal; 2-4 temporals descending to the commissure of the mouth; mental moderate, subquadrangular; 2 (very rarely 3) large lower labials, subequal or first smaller; postmental moderate; 4-5 chin shields in anterior row, 4-6 in posterior row; 209-222 annuli on body, 21-26 on tail (9 in injured type of noltei); 38-42 (18-20 + 20-22) segments in a midbody annulus, the 2 median ventral segments nearly equilateral; pectoral segments feebly differentiated, slightly longer than broad, forming an anteriorly-directed angularseries; 6 (said to be 4 in type of noltei) anals, subject to much division; 4 preanal pores.

Diagnosis: 38-42 segments in a midbody annulus; 209-222 annuli on body, 21-23 on tail; 3 upper labials; 4 preanal pores.

Coloration. Above uniformly violet brown (flesh-pink in life) except for the intersegmental grooves which are white; below pure white, or subcaudal segments mottled with brown.

Measurements. Total length of 9 , 281 (248 + 33) mm.

Source: Loveridge 1941. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “acuere” = sharp, or “acutus” = sharpened, pointed, or “acumen” = tip, or “acus” = needle. 
  • Boettger, O. 1913. Reptilien und Amphibien von Madagascar, den Inseln und dem Festland Ostafrikas. Pp. 269-375. In: Voeltzkow, A. Reise in Ostafrika in den Jahren 1903-1905. Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse. Vol. 3. Systematische Arbeiten. Schweizerbart’ sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Nägele und Sproesser, Stuttgart
  • Broadley, D. G. & HOWELL, K. M. 1991. A check list of the reptiles of Tanzania, with synoptic keys. Syntarsus 1: 1—70
  • Gans C; Kraklau D M 1989. Studies on amphisbaenians (Reptilia) 8. Two genera of small species from east Africa (Geocalamus and Loveridgea). American Museum Novitates (2944) : 1-28 - 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
  • Loveridge, A. 1923. Notes on East African lizards collected 1920-1923 with the description of two new races of Agama lionotus Blgr. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1923: 935-969 - 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
  • Spawls, S. & Rotich, D. 1997. An annotated checklist of the lizards of Kenya. J. East African Nat. Hist. 86: 61-83
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1912. IV. Zoologie II. Lfg. Reptilia. In: Schubotz., R. (ed.): Wissenschaftliche Ergebnisse der Deutschen Zentral-Afrika Expedition 1907- 1908, unter Führung A. Friedrichs, Herzogs zu Mecklenburg. Klinkhard und Biermann, Leipzig: 197-279 [published 1912, not 1913, as often cited, see Männel & Kucharzewski 2017] - get paper here
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