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Letheobia gracilis (STERNFELD, 1910)

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Afrotyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Gracile blind-snake, Urungu Beaked Snake 
SynonymTyphlops gracilis STERNFELD 1910: 70
Typhlops lumbriciformis – (not Peters) BOULENGER 1896: 590
Typhlops leptosoma WITTE 1933: 190
Typhlops katangensis WITTE 1933: 190
Typhlops kibarae – (part) WITTE 1953: 150
Typhlops gracilis leptosoma — LAURENT 1960: 20
Rhinotyphlops gracilis — ROUX-ESTÈVE 1974: 224
Rhinotyphlops gracilis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 80
Rhinotyphlops gracilis — SPAWLS et al. 2001
Letheobia gracilis — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007
Letheobia gracilis — HEDGES et al. 2014
Letheobia gracilis — SPAWLS et al. 2018: 356
Letheobia gracilis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 380 
DistributionN Zambia, W Tanzania, S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), elevation 700–1400 m.

Type locality: Kitungulu, Urungu, Tanzania, (ca. 04°32’S, 34°13’E, elevation 1370 m).  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 22030; collected by H. Fromm in 1910. 
DiagnosisDescription: Snout with an angular horizontal edge. Rostral very broad, truncated posteriorly; frontal trapezoid, usually separated from nasals by supraoculars, which are oblique, with lateral apex wedged between nasal and ocular, which is separated from the subocular by one temporal (two in types of Typhlops leptosoma Witte); eye not visible; nasal suture rising from second labial; SIP X (N1, P, S, S); scale rows 22-22-22; MD 629–726; vertebrae 77–465; MD/V ratio 1.54–1.77; L/D ratio 70–107. Colourless. For abbreviations see L. caeca. From BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007. 
CommentSynonymy: Wallach & Gemel 2018 consider Typhlops katangensis as a valid species but have not formally revalidated it.

Habitat: Savanna. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “gracilis”, meaning small or lanky, or gracile. 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G.; Doria, C.T. & Wigge, J. 2003. Snakes of Zambia. An Atlas and Field Guide. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 280 pp. [review in Sauria 26 (3): 21]
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Wallach, V. 2007. A review of East and Central African species of Letheobia Cope, revived from the synonymy of Rhinotyphlops Fitzinger, with descriptions of five new species (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Zootaxa 1515: 31–68 - get paper here
  • Broadley, Donald G. and F. P. D. Cotterill. 2004. The reptiles of southeast Katanga, an overlooked 'hot spot'. [Congo]. African Journal of Herpetology 53 (1): 35-61. - get paper here
  • Chifundera, K. 1990. Snakes of Zaire and their bites. Afr. Stud. Monogr. (Kyoto) 10(3): 137-157.
  • Chippaux, Jean-Philippe & Kate Jackson 2019. Snakes of Central and Western Africa. Johns Hopkins University Press, 448 pp. [detaileld review in HR 51 (1): 161] - get paper here
  • DEHLING, J. MAXIMILIAN; HARALD H. HINKEL, HANS-JÜRGEN ENSIKAT, KENNY BABILON, EBERHARD FISCHER 2018. A new blind snake of the genus Letheobia (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Rwanda with redescriptions of L. gracilis (Sternfeld, 1910) and L. graueri (Sternfeld, 1912) and the introduction of a non-invasive preparation procedure for scanning electron mic Zootaxa 4378 (4): 480-490 - get paper here
  • Haagner,G.V.; Branch,W.R. & Haagner,A.J.F. 2000. Notes on a collection of reptiles from Zambia and adjacent areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Annals of the Eastern Cape Museum 1: 1 – 25
  • 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
  • Laurent, R.F. 1960. Notes complémentaires sur les Chéloniens et les Ophidiens du congo oriental. Ann. Mus. Roy. Congo Belge (Sci. Zool.), 84: 1-86
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Roux-Estève, R. 1974. Révision systématique des Typhlopidae d'Afrique. Reptilia. Serpentes. Mém. nation. Hist. nat., Paris, (sér.A.) 87: 1-313
  • 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. 1910. Neue Schlangen aus Kamerun, Abessynien und Deutsch-Ostafrika. Mitt. zool. Mus. Berlin 5: 67-70 - get paper here
  • Wallach, V. & Gemel, R. 2018. Typhlops weidholzi n. inedit., a new species of Letheobia from the republic of Cameroon, and a synopsis of the genus (Squamata: Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae). Herpetozoa 31 (1/2): 27 - 46 - get paper here
  • Witte, G. F. de 1933. Reptiles récoltés au Conge Belge par le Dr. H. Schouteden et par M. G.-F. Witte. Ann. Mus. Conge belge Zool. Ser. 1 Tome III: 53-100.
  • Witte, G. F. de 1933. Description de Reptiles nouveaux provenant du Katanga (1930-31). Rev. Zool. Bot. afr., Bruxelles, 23 (2): 185-192
  • Witte, G. F. de 1953. Reptiles. Exploration du Parc National de l'Upemba. Mission G. F. de Witte en collaboration avec W. Adam, A. Janssens, L. Van Meel et R. Verheyen (1946–1949). Institut des Parcs Nationaux du Congo Belge. Brussels, vol. 6, 322 pp. - get paper here
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