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Namibiana occidentalis (FITZSIMONS, 1962)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Leptotyphlopinae, Leptotyphlopini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Western Thread Snake, Western Worm Snake, Namaqua wormsnake 
SynonymLeptotyphlops occidentalis FITZSIMONS 1962
Leptotyphlops occidentalis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 40
Leptotyphlops occidentalis — BROADLEY & BROADLEY 1999
Leptotyphlops occidentalis — BROADLEY & WALLACH 2007: 69
Namibiana occidentalis — ADALSTEINSSON, BRANCH, TRAPE, VITT & HEDGES 2009
Namibiana occidentalis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 473 
DistributionNamibia, Republic of South Africa (Richtersveld)

Type locality: Keetmanshoop, Great Namaqualand, South West Africa.  
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM) 5017. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). Species of Namibiana have 14 midbody scale rows, 10–12 midtail scale rows, 241–387 middorsal scale rows, 12–41 subcaudals, 1–2 supralabials, anterior supralabial absent or small scale present, 192–322 mm maximum adult total length, a body shape of 45–142 (total length/width), a relative tail length of 4.1–10.8 %, a tail shape of 3.8–7.8, no striped pattern, and usually a brown dorsum and pale brown venter (Table 2). Members of Namibiana can be distinguished from the other genus in the Tribe Leptotyphlopini (Leptotyphlops) by having a semilunate (rather than heart-shaped or subtriangular) cloacal shield (except N. gracilior), a higher number (on average) of middorsal scales (241–387 versus 171–322), and a more attenuate body shape (ratio of total length divided by width at midbody, 45–142 versus 36–106). Namibiana occidentalis, reaching a total length of 322 mm (Bauer 1988), is the largest member of the Leptotyphlopinae. Only one species was included in the molecular phylogenetic analyses (Figs. 3–4). [from Adalsteinsson et al. 2009]. 
CommentType species: Leptotyphlops occidentalis FITZSIMONS 1962 is the type species of the genus Namibiana Hedges, Adalsteinsson, & Branch in Adalsteinsson et al. 2009.

Synonymy: Kaiser et al. 2013 considered the generic name Wilsontyphlops Hoser 2012 invalid and rejected its use instead of Namibiana. 
EtymologyThe specific name occidentalis (Latin) refers to the western distribution of this species.

The generic name is a feminine noun derived from the name (Namib) given to that region of southwest Africa by the indigenous people (the Nama), used in allusion to the distribution of species in this genus. 
  • 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
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A. M. 1988. Leptotyphlops occidentalis, western worm snake -- size and distribution. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 34:45. - get paper here
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Branch, William R. & Haacke, Wulf D. 1993. The herpetofauna of the Kamanjab area and adjacent Damaraland, Namibia. Madoqua (Windhoek) 18 (2): 117-145. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Branch,W.R. 1988. Field Guide to the snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 328 pp.
  • Broadley, D.G. & WATSON,G. 1976. A revision of the Worm Snakes of South-eastern Africa (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae). Occ. Pap. nation. Mus. Rhodesia Bulawayo, (BS) 1976: (8): 465-510
  • Broadley, Donald G. & Broadley, Sheila 1999. A review of the Arican wormsnakes from South of Latitude 12°S (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae). Syntarsus 5: 1-36
  • 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
  • Dixon, J.E.W. 1974. A note on Leptotyphlops Fitzinger in South West Africa. Madoqua (2) 3: 69-73 - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, V. 1966. A check-list, with syntopic keys, to the snakes of southern Africa. Annals Transvaal Museum 25 (3): 35-79 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons,V.F.M. 1962. A new worm-snake (Leptotyphlops) from South West Africa. Annals Transvaal Mus. 24: 239-240 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Hoser, R.T. 2012. A review of the extant scolecophidians (“blindsnakes”) including the formal naming and diagnosis of new tribes, genera, subgenera, species and subspecies for divergent taxa. Australasian J. Herpetol. 15: 1–64. - get paper here
  • Kaiser, H.; Crother, B.I.; Kelly, C.M.R.; Luiselli, L.; O’Shea, M.; Ota, H.; Passos, P.; Schleip, W.D. & Wüster, W. 2013. Best Practices: In the 21st Century, Taxonomic Decisions in Herpetology are Acceptable Only When Supported by a Body of Evidence and Published via Peer-Review. Herpetological Review 44 (1): 8-23
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Mertens, R. 1971. Die Herpetofauna Südwest-Afrikas. Senck. Naturf. Gesell., Frankfurt am Main, Abhandl. 529: 110 pp.
  • 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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