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Leptotyphlops pembae LOVERIDGE, 1941

IUCN Red List - Leptotyphlops pembae - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Leptotyphlopini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Pemba worm snake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops emini pembae LOVERIDGE 1941: 177
Leptotyphlops nigricans pembae — BROADLEY & WATSON 1976: 485
Leptotyphlops nigricans pembae — BROADLEY & HOWELL 1991: 22
Leptotyphlops pembae — SPAWLS et al. 2001: 303
Leptotyphlops pembae — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 32
Leptotyphlops pembae — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Leptotyphlops pembae — WALLACH et al. 2014: 369
Leptotyphlops pembae — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 371 
DistributionTanzania (Pemba Island, Mafia Island).

Type locality: Wingwi Pwana, Pemba Island, Tanzania.  
TypesHolotype: MCZ 46116. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the Leptotyphlops nigricans species group, closest to L. macrops, with which it agrees in having a large eye beneath a bulge in the ocular shield (but less well developed) and a relatively long tail with 28–39 subcaudals. It differs from that species in having fewer total dorsals (247–269 vs 272–322) and having extensive white patches on chin and throat. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Description. Body cylindrical, with head and neck broadened and flattened, the moderate tail tapers to a small terminal spine. Snout rounded, rostral moderate (0.39–0.54 head width, mean = 0.43), broader than nasals anteriorly and extending to a line connecting the eyes posteriorly, rostral without a preoral groove ventrally. Behind rostral, lip bordered by infranasal [except on right side of holotype where supralabial contacts rostral along lip] (nos- tril nearer to rostral than supralabial along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial with width along lip 1.5– 3.0 times that of infranasal, ocular with large eye placed near anterior border, and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, anteriorly wedged between supranasal and ocular, posteriorly wedged between hex- agonal frontal and postfrontal, the frontal subequal to a supraocular, the postfrontal larger and subequal to the hexagonal interparietal, the interoccipital smaller and subequal to the vertebral series of dorsal scales follow- ing it. Parietals transverse, larger than the fused occipitals, in contact with the posterior supralabials. Temporal 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. Total middorsals 247–269, subcaudals 28–39. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Size: Total length/ diameter ratio 45–68; total length/tail ratio 6.2–11.8. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Coloration: Uniformly dark brown to black dorsum and venter except for irregular white patches on chin and throat. Size. Largest specimen (BMNH 1940.1.18.71 — Wambaa, Pemba Island, Tanzania) 195 + 25 = 220 mm. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Original description: Loveridge 1941: 177 
CommentHabitat. Clove plantations and sandy grassland. 
Etymologynamed after the type locality. 
  • 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
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boundy, J. 2014. COMMENTS ON SOME AFRICAN TAXA OF LEPTOTYPHLOPID SNAKES. Occ. Pap. Mus. Nat. Sci. Louisiana State Univ. 84: 1-8
  • Broadley, D. G. & HOWELL, K. M. 1991. A check list of the reptiles of Tanzania, with synoptic keys. Syntarsus 1: 1—70
  • Broadley, D.G. & WATSON,G. 1976. A revision of the Worm Snakes of South-eastern Africa (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae). Occ. Pap. nation. Mus. Rhodesia Bulawayo, (BS) 1976: (8): 465-510
  • 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
  • Hahn D. E. & V. WALLACH, 1998. Comments on the systematics of Old World Leptotyphlops (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae), with description of a new species. Hamadryad 23: 50-62 - get paper here
  • Hawlitschek, O.; F. Glaw & D. Rödder 2012. Pemba – Herpetologische Fundgrube im Indischen Ozean. Reptilia (Münster) 17 (97): 97-109 - 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. 1941. New Geckos (Phelsuma and Lygodactylus), Snake (Lepotyphlops) and Frog (Phrynobarachits) from Pemba Island, East Africa. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 54 (8): 175-178 - 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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