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Leptotyphlops mbanjensis BROADLEY & WALLACH, 2007

IUCN Red List - Leptotyphlops mbanjensis - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Leptotyphlopini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Mbanja worm snake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops mbanjensis BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 37
Leptotyphlops emini emini – LOVERIDGE 1942: 259
Leptotyphlops emini — SPAWLS et al. 2002: 393 (part).
Leptotyphlops mbanjensis — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Leptotyphlops mbanjensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 368
Leptotyphlops mbanjensis — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 369 
DistributionExtreme SE Tanzania (Southern Province)

Type locality: Mbanja, ca. 6 km N Lindi, Lindi District, Lindi Region, Southern Province, Tanzania (09°24’S, 39°45’E, 130 m elevation).  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 45040, a female collected by A. Loveridge, 26 April 1939. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A member of the Leptotyphlops nigricans species group, closely resembling L. emini but distinguished by its lower midddorsal counts and the presence of a triangular postparietal bone in the skull.
CommentDescription. Body cylindrical, head narrower than neck and body, short thick tail that abruptly tapers to a blunt cone. Snout rounded, rostral moderate (0.40–0.51 head width, mean = 0.45) and truncated posteriorly, wider than nasals and extending to a line connecting posterior edge of eyes, a preoral groove present ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril nearer to rostral than supralabial along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial not reaching level of nostril and half as tall as infranasal with width along lip 1.5 times that of infranasal, large ocular with eye along anterior edge of upper half, and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars rectangular, oblique, subequal to frontal (broader transversely but narrowed longitudinally), which is narrower than postfrontal. Interoccipital broader than interparietal, which is broader than postfrontal. Parietals oblique, slightly broader than the enlarged fused occipitals, in contact with posterior supralabials. Temporal single. No mental.
Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 10 rows on the tail takes place lateral to the nearly triangular cloacal shield. Total middorsals 185–197, subcaudals 22–24.
Total length/diameter ratio 38–54, total length/tail ratio 11.5–12.0.
Dorsum and venter uniformly dark brown to blackish-brown with lower edge of supralabials and first pair of infralabials dirty white, posterior border of cloacal shield and adjacent scales dirty white. Skull with a triangular postparietal bone present.

Habitat. Orchard forest with mango trees and waist-high grass (Loveridge, 1944). Loveridge (1942) reported specimens taken in rainy season by uprooting grass and scraping over the tent site. 
  • 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
  • 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
  • Loveridge, A. 1942. Scientific results of a fourth expedition to forested areas in east and central Africa. IV. Reptiles. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 237-373 - get paper here
  • 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
  • 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.
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