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Liotyphlops ternetzii (BOULENGER, 1896)

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Higher TaxaAnomalepididae, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Ternetz's Blind Snake
Portuguese: Cobra-Cega
Portuguese: Cobra-Cabelo, Cobra-Cega, Cobra-Cega-Preta, Cobra-de-Chumbinho, Fura-Terra [beui] 
SynonymHelminthophis ternetzii BOULENGER 1896: 584
Helminthophis incertus AMARAL 1924: 29
Helminthophis beui AMARAL 1924: 29
Helminthophis ternetzii — AMARAL 1924: 27
Helminthophis collenettei PARKER 1928: 97
Liotyphlops incertus — VANZOLINI 1948: 380
Liotyphlops ternetzi — SMITH & GRANT 1958: 207
Liotyphlops ternetzii – PETERS & OREJAS-MIRANDA 1970: 183
Liotyphlops ternetzii — DIXON & KOFRON 1984: 255
Liotyphlops beui — DIXON & KOFRON 1984: 258
Liotyphlops ternetzii — STARACE 1998: 70
Liotyphlops ternetzii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 51
Liotyphlops beui — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 51
Liotyphlops beui — FREIRE et al. 2007
Liotyphlops ternetzii — FREIRE et al. 2007
Liotyphlops cf. ternetzii — LOEBMANN 2009
Liotyphlops beui — ARAUJO et al. 2011
Liotyphlops ternetzii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 397
Liotyphlops beui — WALLACH et al. 2014: 397
Liotyphlops sousai MARRA-SANTOS & REIS 2018
Liotyphlops beui — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019
Liotyphlops sousai — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019
Liotyphlops ternetzii — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019
Liotyphlops ternetzii — MARRA-SANTOS 2023 
DistributionBrazil (Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul), N Argentina (Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Formosa, Jujuy, Misiones, Salta), Paraguay (Amambay, Caazapá, Canendiyu, Itapúa, Presidente Hayes), Uruguay, Suriname

Type locality: Paraguay

beui: Brazil (Sao Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Espírito-Santo, Goiás, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Paraná), Paraguay (fide Paul Smith, pers. comm., 27 Apr 2014). Type locality: Butantan, São Paulo, Brazil.

incertus: Type locality: Surinam [Suriname], but questioned by Dixon & Kofron 1984.

collenettei: Type locality: Burity, 2250 ft., 30 miles northeast of Coyaba [Cuiabá], Mato Grosso [Brazil].

sousai: Brazil (Santa Catarina): Type locality: Brazil, Santa Catarina State, Municipality of Passos Maia, Passos Maia small hydroeletric power plant, 26°42’14’’S, 51°55’05’’W.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.1.11.77
Holotype: IBSP (= IB) 1806; paratypes: IB, MCZ, BMNH [beui]
Holotype: MCZ 17846 [incertus]
Holotype: BMNH 1946.1.10.73 (formerly BMNH 1928.1.12.1) [collenettei]
Holotype: UFRGS 6274, 191.4 mm, Simone Leonardi, January 2012 [sousai] 
DiagnosisDescription: “Thirteen specimens of L. ternetzii were examined, including the holotype. The normal arrangement of lateral head scales consists of (1) five scales in the first vertical row, of which the tip of the frontal passes in front of the fourth scale, (2) three scales contacting the posterior border of the prefrontal, and (3) the second supralabial contacting the posterior part of the nasal (fig. 3). The number of dorsal scales ranged from 463-510 (X =487.5), and the total length from 88-413 mm. The scale rows around the body were determined for 12 L. ternetzii, and all had 22 rows posteriorly. The anterior scale rows numbered 23 (2 specimens), 24 (6), 25 (2), or 26 (2). The midbody scale rows were 22 (8), 23 (2), and 24 (2). An atypical head scale arrangement was observed in BM 1960.1.2.72 from Paraguay, which on the left side had a scale arrangement like that of L. schubarti. The second scale of the first vertical row was positioned between the posterior nasal and second labial, thus it contacted the first and second labials and did not contact the third (as in other L. ternetzii); also, the second scale of the second vertical row contacted the second and third labials instead of the third and fourth (as in other L. ternetzif). The arrangement of head scales on the right side was like that for other L. ternetzii, although several scales were either imperfectly formed or slightly misaligned. The number of dorsal scales was 506 and scales around the body 24-24-22, both of which are within the ranges for other L. ternetzii and outside the known ranges of L. schubarti. Variation of head scales on a second specimen consisted of one side with six scales in the first vertical row, which apparently resulted by a division of the usual third scale.” (Dixon & Kofron 1984)

Remarks. “We have placed Helminthophis incertus (= L. incertus) in the synonym of L. ternetzii. Helminthophis incertus was named by AMARAL in 1925, and it was reported to be from Surinam. The original description was based upon a single specimen "from the Wyman collection". and no additional specimens have been reported. More recently, PETERS and OREJAS-MIRANDA (1970) listed L. incertus as a species in their synopsis of the genus. We have examined the holotype of H. incertus, and it is typical specimen of L. ternetzii. The arrangement of lateral head scales in the holotype of H. incertus is like that in L. ternetzii. The holotype of H. incertus has 466 dorsal scales, 26 -22-22 scale rows around the body, and is 244 mm total length. These characters are within the ranges of variation for L. ternetzii. When AMARAL (1924) named L. incertus, L. ternetzii was still known only from the holotype in the British Museum (Natural History). BOULENGER (1896) did not provide an illustration of L. ternetzii when he named the species, and AMARAL did not see the type specimen. AMARAL's (1924) description of L. ternetzii is merely lifted from BOULENGER's (1896) original description of the holotype. Both BOULENGER (1896) and AMARAL (1924) described their specimens to hve two preoculars and one subocular. However, the scale referred to as a lower preocular by BOULENGER was called a subocular by AMARAL, and the upper preocular of BOULENGER was the lower preocular of AMARAL. BOULENGER (1896) described contact between certain scales and the supralabials. Because AMARAL (1924) employed a different manner of naming scales, he observed different contacts and consequently believed he had a new species. Later after having seen the holotype of L. ternetzii, AMARAL (1929) still maintained L. incertus as a species and differentiated it from L. ternetzit upon the number of supralabials, a character which we have found to be useless.” (Dixon & Kofron 1984)

Diagnosis (sousai). Liotyphlops sousai is distinguished from all other Liotyphlops, except L. anops, L. argaleus, and L. trefauti, by having four scales contacting the posterior edge of the prefrontal (vs. three scales contacting posterior edge of prefrontal). It is distinguished from L. anops by having 24/22/20 scales around the body and 439 dorsal scales (vs. 26/ 24/24 scales around the body and 562–597 dorsal scales), and L. argaleus and L. trefauti by having two scales contacting posterior edge of nasal between second supralabial and prefrontal (vs. one scale contacting posterior edge of nasal). (Marra-Santos & Reis 2018).

Original description (incertus): Amaral 1924: 29

Original description (beui): Amaral 1924: 29 

Distribution: for a discussion of type localities and distribution see Dixon & Kofron 1984.

Synonymy: Helminthophis incertus was synonymized with Liotyphlops ternetzii by Dixon & Kofron 1984. Marra Santos 2023 synonymized Helminthophis beui with L. ternetzii, following Peters and Orejas-Miranda 1970: 183. Amaral 1954: 192 synonymized Helminthophis collenettei with ternetzii. Entiauspe-Neto et al. 2023 synonymied Liotyphlops sousai with Liotyphlops beui. Marra-Santos 2023 synonymized Liotyphlops beui with L. ternetzii.

NCBI taxon ID: 1680135 [beui] 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. Carl Ternetz (b. 1870), an ichthyologist and naturalist who collected all over South America over a period of more than 30 years.

Named after T. Beu, the collector of the holotype. Has been removed from the synonym of L. ternetzii by DIXON & KOFRON 1984.

L. sousai is an epithet in honor of the Brazilian Army Colonel Fernando Machado de Sousa (January 11, 1822–December 6, 1868), recognized as the greatest military hero of the State of Santa Catarina, Brazil. 
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