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Myriopholis nursii (ANDERSON, 1896)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Myriopholini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Nurse's Blind Snake 
SynonymGlauconia nursii ANDERSON in BOULENGER 1896: 591
Glauconia cairi — WERNER 1907: 42 (part.)
Leptotyphlops nursii — PARKER 1938: 481
Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus — CORKILL & COCHRANE 1966: 496.
Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus macrorhynchus — HAHN 1978: 483 (part)Leptotyphlops macrorhynchus macrorhynchus — GASPERETTI 1988: 200 (part).
Leptotyphlops blanfordi nursi — HAHN 1978: 486 (part), fig. 8
Leptotyphlops blanfordi nursii — LEVITON & ALDRICH 1984: xxiv
Leptotyphlops blanfordi nursii — ARNOLD 1987: 252
Leptotyphlops blanfordii nursii — SCHÄTTI & GASPERETTI 1994: 382
Leptotyphlops blanfordii nursii — SCHÄTTI & DESVOIGNES 1999: 78.
Leptotyphlops nursii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 39
Leptotyphlops nursii — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 20
Leptotyphlops nursii — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 431
Leptotyphlops nursii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 369
Myriopholis nursii — CARRANZA et al. 2018 
DistributionYemen, Southern Arabian Peninsula, Oman, N Somalia (at border to Ethiopia), Eritrea (Dahlak Archipelago in the Red sea), (elevation 50-1525 m)

Type locality: Aden [= Yemen] (12°46’N, 45°01’E, elevation near sea level).  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.16.91 (formerly BMNH 1895.11.27.1, BMNH 1946.1.16.91-92), collected by C.G. Nurse; Anderson, 1896: 64. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A member of the Leptotyphlops longicaudus species group, resembling L. blanfordii in having 12 scale rows on the tail, but differing in its skull, with two supraoccipitals and a large frontoparietal foramen. The snout is rounded in lateral profile. Leptotyphlops nursii differs from L. burii (with which it is sympatric at ad-Dali) in having only 281–378 middorsal scales and much smaller rostral and frontal shields (from BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007).

Description. Body cylindrical, with head broader than neck and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly before a small terminal spine.
Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.46–0.55 head width, mean = 0.49), distinctly wider than nasals anteriorly and extending to a point nearly level with the front of the eyes, a distinct preoral groove is present ventrally with a slight ventral extension of rostral below lip level. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nos- tril nearer to supralabial than rostral along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial with a width along lip twice than of infranasal, large ocular with centrally placed eye, and large posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentag- onal, subequal to frontal, anteriorly wedged between supranasal and ocular, posteriorly wedged between fron- tal and postfrontal, which are hexagonal and subequal, but slightly smaller than the interparietal and interoccipital. Parietals transverse, in contact with the posterior supralabial. Occipitals variable, enlarged and fused in the types and half of sample but not fused in other half. Temporal single. No mental, four infralabials.
Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 12 rows on tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield. Middorsals 281–378; subcaudals 34–48.
Total length/diameter ratio 48–105; total length/tail ratio 7.2–16.8.
Dorsum usually pale brown, venter creamy-white. (Broadley & Wallach 2007)

Size. Largest specimen (BMNH 1946.1.16.91 — Aden, lectotype) 218 + 24 = 242 mm. (Broadley & Wallach 2007) 
CommentHas been considered a “race” of Leptotyphlops blanfordi (HAHN 1978).

Distribution: Dahlak fide Erez Maza (pers. comm., 12 Jan 2010). 
Etymologynamed after the collector of the types, C.G. Nurse. 
  • 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
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1896. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum, Vol. 3. London (Taylor & Francis), xiv + 727 pp. - get paper here
  • 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
  • Carranza S, Xipell M, Tarroso P, Gardner A, Arnold EN, Robinson MD, et al. 2018. Diversity, distribution and conservation of the terrestrial reptiles of Oman (Sauropsida, Squamata). PLoS One 13 (2): e0190389 - get paper here
  • Corkill, N. L. and Cochrane, J. A. 1966. The snakes of the Arabian Peninsula and Socotra. J. Bombay nat. Hist. Soc. 62 (3): 475-506 (1965) - get paper here
  • Egan, D. 2007. Snakes of Arabia. Motivate Publishing, Dubai, 208 pp.
  • Gasperetti,J. 1988. Snakes of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 9: 169-450
  • 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
  • Hahn,D.E. 1978. A brief review of the genus Leptotyphlops (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) of Asia, with description of a new species. Journal of Herpetology 12 (4): 477-489 - 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
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Leviton, A.E., & Aldrich, M.L. 1984. Checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of the Arabian Peninsula. in Anderson, John, Herpetology of Arabia (Soc. for the Study of Amphs. and Reps., Athens, OH): xv-xxv.
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Parker, H.W. 1938. Reptiles and amphibians of the southern Hejaz. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (11) 1: 481-492 - get paper here
  • Schätti, B. & Gasperetti, J. 1994. A contribution to the herpetofauna of Southwest Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 14: 348-423
  • Schätti, B., Desvoignes, A. 1999. The herpetofauna of southern Yemen and the Sokotra Archipelago. Muséum d'histoire naturelle Genéve, Genéve.
  • Scortecci,Giuseppe 1933. Leptotyphlops yemenicus sp. n. Atti Soc. ital. Sci. nat., Milano, 72: 165-166
  • van der Kooij, Jeroen 2001. The herpetofauna of the Sultanate of Oman: Part 4: The terrestrial snakes. Podarcis 2 (2): 54-65 - 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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