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Leptotyphlops aethiopicus BROADLEY & WALLACH, 2007

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Leptotyphlopini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ethiopian worm snake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops aethiopicus BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 38
Glauconia emini — STERNFELD, 1908: 239
Glauconia emini — BOULENGER 1915: 643
Glauconia emini — SCORTECCI 1939: 128
? Glauconia cairi — BOULENGER 1906: 441
? Glauconia cairi — WERNER 1908: 42 (part.)
Leptotyphlops emini — PARKER 1949: 20.
Leptotyphlops emini emini — LOVERIDGE, 1957: 247 (part.).
Leptotyphlops nigricans — LARGEN & RASMUSSEN 1993: 325 (part)
Leptotyphlops aethiopicus — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Leptotyphlops aethiopicus — WALLACH et al. 2014: 367
Leptotyphlops aethiopicus — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 366 
DistributionEthiopia (Harerge Region), 1900-2000 m elevation.

Type locality: near Harrar [= Harar], Harerge Region, Ethiopia (09°18’N, 42°08’E, elevation ca. 2000 m)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1911.12.13.17, collected by Kristensen. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the Leptotyphlops nigricans species group, closest to to L. emini, but distinguished therefrom by its high middorsal count (239–261), slender build (total length/ diameter ratio 61–77) and white tail tip ventrally. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Description (paratype variations in parentheses). Body cylindrical, with head and neck broadened and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly before a very small terminal spine.
Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.52–0.57 head width, mean = 0.55) and truncated, only slightly wider than supranasals anteriorly and not extending past a line connecting the eyes anteriorly, whereas the supranasals extend to a line connecting the eyes posteriorly, rostral lacking a preoral groove ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril midway between rostral and supranasal along nasal suture), small (moderate) anterior supralabial with width along lip equal to that of infranasal, large ocular with large eye cen- trally placed and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, anteriorly wedged between upper nasal and ocular, posteriorly wedged between hexagonal subequal frontal and postfrontal, which are larger than the supraocular, but smaller than the hexagonal interparietal, which is also larger than the interoccipital and the vertebral series of scales following it. Parietals oblique, subequal to the fused occipitals, in contact with the posterior supralabial. Temoral single. No mental, four infralabials.
Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 10 scale rows on the tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield, which is entire. Total middorsals 250 (243–261), sub- caudals 24 (23–29).
Total length 145 mm; tail 13; diameter of body 2.2 mm.
Total length/diameter ratio 72 (62–77); total length/tail ratio 12.2 (10.1–12.9).
Dorsum and venter blackish-brown to dark brown except for the first infralabials, cloacal shield, and a patch of 14 (12–14) scales under the tail tip, which are white. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Size. Largest specimen (BMNH 1977.2250) 145 + 16 = 161 mm. (Broadley & Wallach 2007) 
CommentHabitat. When the holotype was collected there was probably some of the climax Juniperus woodland around Harer, but this whole area is now intensively cultivated. The climax vegetation southeast of Dire Dawa and near Yabelo would be Podocarpus forest. 
EtymologyThe specific name is derived from the Latin aethiopicus = of Ethiopia, as this species is endemic to the Ethiopian highlands. 
  • Adalsteinsson, S.A.; Branch, W.R.; Trapé, S.; Vitt, L.J. & Hedges, S.B. 2009. Molecular phylogeny, classification, and biogeography of snakes of the Family Leptotyphlopidae (Reptilia, Squamata). Zootaxa 2244: 1-50 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1915. A list of the snakes of North-East Africa, from the Tropic to the Soudan and Somaliland, including Socotra. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1915: 641–65 - get paper here
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Wallach, V. 2007. A revision of the genus Leptotyphlops in northeastern Africa and southwestern Arabia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae). Zootaxa 1408: 1–78 - get paper here
  • Hedges, S.B., Marion, A.B., Lipp, K.M., Marin, J. & Vidal, N. 2014. A taxonomic framework for typhlopid snakes from the Caribbean and other regions (Reptilia, Squamata). Caribbean Herpetology 49: 1–61 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Largen,M.J. & Rasmussen,J.B. 1993. Catalogue of the snakes of Ethiopia (Reptilia Serpentes), including identification keys. Tropical Zoology 6: 313-434 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1957. Check list of the reptiles and amphibians of east Africa (Uganda, Kenya, Tanganyika, Zanzibar). Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 117 (2): 153-362 - get paper here
  • Parker,H.W. 1949. The snakes of Somaliland and the Sokotra islands. Zoologische Verhandelingen 6: 1-115 - get paper here
  • Scortecci, G. 1939. Reptilia. In: Missione Biologica nel Paese dei Borana. Volume secondo. Raccolte Zoologiche. Parte prima. Reale Accademia d’Italia, Roma, pp. 125–150
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Stephen Spawls; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1908. Zur Schlangenfauna Ostafrikas. I. Schlangen aus Süd-Abessinien. II. Schlangen aus Britisch-Ostafrika. III. Schlangen aus Portugiesisch-Ostafrika. Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berlin 4(1): 236–247 - get paper here
  • Wallach, Van; Kenneth L. Williams , Jeff Boundy 2014. Snakes of the World: A Catalogue of Living and Extinct Species. [type catalogue] Taylor and Francis, CRC Press, 1237 pp.
  • Werner, F. 1908. Ergebnisse der mit Subvention aus der Erbschaft Treitl unternommenen zoologischen Forschungsreise Dr. Franz Werner's nach nach dem Ägyptischen Sudan und Norduganda. XII. die Reptilien und Amphibien. [Mabuia mongallensis, Leptodira attarensis]. Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien 116 [1907]: 1823-1926 - get paper here
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