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Liotyphlops albirostris (PETERS, 1858)

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Higher TaxaAnomalepididae, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: White-nosed Blindsnake, Whitenose Blind Snake 
SynonymRhinotyphlops albirostris PETERS 1858: 402
Liotyphlops albirostris — PETERS 1881: 69
Typhlops (Idiotyphlops) emunctus GARMAN 1884
Helminthophis petersii BOULENGER 1889
Helminthophis petersii — BOULENGER 1893: 6
Helminthophis albirostris — BOULENGER 1893: 6
Helminthophis canellei MOCQUARD 1903: 211
Typhlops emunctus — BARBOUR 1906: 226
Helminthophis bondensis GRIFFIN 1916
Liotyphlops cucutae DUNN 1944: 49
Liotyphlops petersii — DUNN 1944
Liotyphlops caracasensis ROZE 1952: 150
Liotyphlops rowani SMITH and GRANT 1958
Liotyphlops albirostris — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 49
Liotyphlops albirostris — FREIRE et al. 2007
Liotyphlops albirostris — WALLACH et al. 2014: 396 
DistributionCosta Rica, Panama, Colombia,
Venezuela (Distrito Federal, Táchira, Trujillo, Miranda, Mérida [Esqueda & La Marca 1999]), Ecuador

Type locality: “Veragua” [Panama]  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 9529
Holotype: INHS (= UIMNH) 41731; Panama: Near Fort Clayton Reservation, Canal Zone; C. Grant; January- 13 March 30, 1958 [rowani]
Holotype: MCZ 3971 [emunctus] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Liotyphlops share the following suite of features that separate them from other anomalepidids: enlarged, nonpolygonal head plates that have rounded posterior margins; the enlarged rostral meeting a broad and short frontal plate to completely separate the prefrontals; scale rows at midbody 22 to 28; tail with a terminal spine. Liotyphlops differs from Typhlophis of South America by having enlarged head scales (scales on upper head surface same size and shape as dorsals in Typhlophis) and from the other Costa Rican genera in the enlarged rostral and peculiar frontal scales (Savage 2002: 555, whose diagnosis is based on 7 species known in 2002).

DIAGNOSIS (species): A small rare species with a light spot on the snout, lacking enlarged ventral scales and with the minute eyes hidden under scales (Savage 2002: 555).

DESCRIPTION: Total length to 223 mm; glossy black above and below. Scale rows around midbody 22; dorsal scale rows from head to tip of tail 370 to 455; no enlarged precloacal scales; tail short, about as long as head (Savage 2002: 555).

SIMILAR SPECIES: (1) Anomalepis mexicanus has the head colored like the body. (2) Helminthophis frontalis has the head and neck pinkish in color, and the rostral and frontal scales are separated by the prefrontals. (3) Typhlops costaricensis has the undersides of the posterior body and tail yellow. (4) Leptotyphlops ater has 14 scale rows around the midbody. (5) Limbless amphibians lack epidermal scales (Savage 2002: 555). 
CommentType species: Rhinotyphlops albirostris PETERS 1857 is the type species of the genus Liotyphlops PETERS 1881 (which is a substitute name for Rhinotyphlops PETERS, fide WILLIAMS & WALLACH 1989: 87).

Synonymy after DIXON & KOFRON 1984. Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic names Hawkeswoodus Hoser 2012, Kraussus Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Liotyphlops.

Distribution: not in Brazil nor Argentina fide Wallach et al. 2014, and Costa & Bernils 2015. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “albus, -a, -um” = white and “rostrum” = beak, trunk, or proboscis. 
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  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Carvajal-Cogollo, J.E.; L.E. Rojas-Murcia. & G. Cárdenas-Arévalo 2020. Reptiles del Caribe colombiano/ Reptiles of the Colombian Caribbean. Tunja: Editorial UPTC, 268 pp. - get paper here
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  • Dunn, E. R.;Tihen, J. A. 1944. The skeletal anatomy of Liotyphlops albirostris. Journal of Morphology 74 (2): 287-295 - get paper here
  • Dunn, E.R. 1944. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, 45: 175. - get paper here
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  • Esqueda,L.F. & La Marca,E. 1999. New Reptilian species records from the Cordillera de Mérida, Andes of Venezuela. Herpetological Review 30 (4): 238-240 - get paper here
  • FREIRE, E.M.X.; U. CARAMASCHI & A.J.S. ARGOLO 2007. A new species of Liotyphlops (Serpentes: Anomalepididae) from the Atlantic Rain Forest of Northeastern Brazil. Zootaxa 1393: 19-26 - get paper here
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