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Myriopholis longicauda (PETERS, 1854)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Myriopholini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Long-tailed Thread Snake 
SynonymStenostoma longicaudum PETERS 1854: 621
Glauconia longicauda — BOULENGER 1890
Glauconia longicauda — BOULENGER 1893: 66
Glauconia fiechteri SCORTECCI 1929: 266
Glauconia brevirostralis FITZSIMONS 1930: 38
Glauconia fiechteri — SCORTECCI 1931: 15
Leptotyphlops fiechteri — PARKER 1932: 214
Leptotyphlops longicauda — LOVERIDGE 1953: 247
Leptotyphlops longicaudus — AUERBACH 1987: 149
Leptotyphlops longicaudus — BROADLEY & BROADLEY 1999
Leptotyphlops longicaudus — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 34
Myriopholis longicauda — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Myriopholis longicaudus — BROADLEY & BLAYLOCK 2013
Myriopholis longicauda — WALLACH et al. 2014: 463
Myriopholis longicauda — PIETERSEN et al. 2021 
DistributionS Somalia, Mozambique, NE Republic of South Africa (Transvaal, Swaziland), Zimbabwe, E Botswana, Zambia

Type locality: “Tete” [Mozambique]  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 4827
Syntype: MSNM (Milano) [fiechteri] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Species of Myriopholini and Myriopholis have 14 midbody scale rows, 10–12 midtail scale rows, 165–558 middorsal scale rows, 25–58 subcaudals, two supralabials (three in M. dissimilis), a small anterior supralabial (moderate in M. narirostris), 103–293 mm maximum adult total length, a body shape of 27–138 (total length/width), a relative tail length of 5.7–18.9 %, a tail shape of 5.0–11.7, no striped pattern, and usually a pale brown dorsum and white venter (Table 2). Members of this genus and tribe can be distinguished from the two other tribes in the subfamily Leptotyphlopinae by the presence of a higher average number of middorsal scales (165–558 versus 171–387) and subcaudals (25–58 versus 12–44). Also, members of the tribe usually have a white venter and semilunate cloacal shield whereas members of the Tribe Leptotyphlopini usually have a brown or pale brown venter and a heart-shaped or subtriangular cloacal shield (see fig. 2 in Broadley & Wallach, 2007). Members of the Tribe Myriopholini also can be distinguished from the Tribe Epacrophini by the presence of a small anterior supralabial (moderate in size in Epacrophini). The support for this group was 100% BP and 100% PP for the four-gene tree (Fig. 3) and 100% BP and 100% PP for the nine-gene tree (Fig. 4). [from ADALSTEINSSON et al. 2009]. 
CommentThe primitive members of the longicaudus species group are characterised by an elongate skull with a postparietal bone separating the supraoccipitals, paired parietal bones more or less separated and sometimes the frontals also. There is a
discrete frontal shield, a small anterior supralabial, a moderate posterior supralabial, a semilunate cloacal shield, a small apical spine, and brown dorsal pigmentation, paler below.

Distribution: not in East Africa (i.e. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi fide S. Spawls, pers. comm., 28 June 2018). Leptotyphlops longicaudus of southeastern Africa seems to be the most basal species, followed by the easternmost representative of the group, L. blanfordii, inhabiting southwestern Iran, eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan and northwestern India (Hahn, 1978). Tanzanian animals of this species are now regarded at Myriopholis (Leptotyphlops) ionidesi.

Type species: Stenostoma longicaudum PETERS 1854 is the type species of the genus Myriopholis Hedges, Adalsteinsson, & Branch 2009.

Synonymy: Kaiser et al. 2013 rejected the (sub-) generic names Longinidis Hoser 2012, Scanlonus Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected their use instead of Myriopholis. 
EtymologyNamed after its long tail (Latin “cauda”).

The generic name is feminine and derived from the Greek adjective myrios (many, countless) and Greek noun pholis (scale), in allusion to the high number of middorsal and subcaudal scales typical of species in this genus. 
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  • Angel, Fernand 1925. Résultats Scientifiques. Vertebrata. Reptiles et Batraciens. [Mabuia (Mabuiopsis) jeanneli, Lygosoma graueri quinquedigitata, Ablepharus massaiensis]. In: Voyage de Ch. Alluaud et R. Jeannel en Afrique Orientale (1911-1912). - Paris, 2: 1-63.
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