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Gracililima nyassae (GÜNTHER, 1888)

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Higher TaxaLamprophiidae, Colubroidea, Caenophidia, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Black File Snake, Dwarf File Snake
G: Schwarze Feilenschlange 
SynonymSimocephalus nyassae GÜNTHER 1888: 328
Simocephalus nyassae — BOULENGER 1893: 347
Gonionotophis degrijsi WERNER 1906: 53
Mehelya nyassae — BROADLEY 1959
Mehelya nyassae — RASMUSSEN 1981: 176
Mehelya nyassae — AUERBACH 1987: 158
Mehelya nyassae — BOYCOTT 1992
Mehelya nyassae — BROADLEY 1998
Gonionotophis nyassae — KELLY et al. 2011
Mehelya nyassae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 425
Gonionotophis nyassae — BATES et al. 2014: 361
Gonionotophis nyassae — MALONZA et al. 2017
Gonionotophis nyassae — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 409
Gracililima nyassae — BROADLEY et al. 2018
Gonionotophis nyassae — CHIPPAUX & JACKSON 2019: 215 
DistributionZimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, NE Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, N/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), S Somalia

Type locality: Lake Nyassa.

degrijsi: Type locality: Usambara Mountains, Tanzania.  
TypesType: BMNH 1946.1.14.52.
Syntypes: ZMB 18815, 18816, female, male [degrijsi] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Maxillary and dentary bones bent inwards anteriorly; the 7 or 8 anterior maxillary teeth increasing in size posteriorly and followed after a diastema by 16–18 very small teeth; anterior mandibular teeth increasing in size posteriorly, the ninth or tenth largest. Head distinct from the neck, depressed; eye moderate, with vertically elliptical pupil; nostril very large. Body subtriangular; scales simply keeled, without apical pits, in 15 scale rows at midbody, those of the vertebral series enlarged and bicarinate; ventrals 164–193, with a lateral keel. Tail moderate, subcaudals paired (54–78). Hypapophyses developed throughout the vertebral column. Hemipenis bifurcating at subcaudal scale 6–7. Sequence divergence of Gracililima differs from other file snake genera by 2.1–5.0% for 16S, 10.7–13.0% for cyt b, and 0.7–1.3% for c-mos. Gracililima forms a polytomy with clades Mehelya and Gonionotophis.

Diagnosis: A small species with 15 scale rows throughout the length of the body; dorsal scales imbricate, with a strong median keel and short apical keels laterally; ventrals 164-177 in males, 170-193 in females; subcaudals 62-78 in males, 54-74 in females; eye small to moderate in size; supralabials usually seven, the third and fourth entering the orbit. Uniform dark brown to black above, venter brown, white or mottled [LANZA & BROADLEY 2014] 
CommentType species: Simocephalus nyassae GÜNTHER 1888: 328 is the type species of the genus Gracililima BROADLEY et al. 2018. 
EtymologyGracili-lima (Latin = slender + file). The name is in the feminine form. 
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