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Ramphotyphlops exocoeti (BOULENGER, 1887)

IUCN Red List - Ramphotyphlops exocoeti - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaTyphlopidae (Asiatyphlopinae), Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Christmas Island Blind Snake 
SynonymTyphlops exocoeti BOULENGER 1887: 517
Typhlops exocoeti — BOULENGER 1893: 36
Typhlops capensis RENDAHL 1918 (fide WALLACH & GLAW 2009)
Typhlops exocoeti — GIBSON-HILL 1940
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — COGGER et al. 1983: 1896
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1984: 105
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 40
Typhlops exocoeti — GREER 1997
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — MCDIARMID et al. 1999: 65
Typhlops exocoeti — COGGER 2000: 731
Typhlops exocoeti — COGGER & SADLIER 2000
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — WALLACH 2003
Carrtyphlopea exocoeti — HOSER 2012: 20
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — HEDGES et al. 2014
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — PYRON & WALLACH 2014
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — WALLACH et al. 2014: 628
Ramphotyphlops exocoeti — COGGER 2014: 801 
DistributionAustralia (Christmas Island)

Type locality: Christmas Islands, Indian Ocean.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.1.11.78 (formerly, Christmas I., Indian Ocean, collected J.J. Lister. Designation by Wells & Wellington (1985).
Holotype: NRM = NHRM 2573 [Typhlops capensis] 
CommentSynonymy: Typhlops capensis has been considered as a synonym of T. comorensis by Roux-Estève (1974: 1313) but “is believed to be a valid species” (Van Wallach, cited in McDiarmid et al. 1999). Wallach & Glaw (2009) indicated it was probably not from Madagascar and synonymized it with Ramphotyphlops exocoeti.

Terra typica (Typhlops capensis): “Kaplande” [Capeland, South Africa]. [Probably in error. According to FitzSimons, 1962, Snakes S. Africa, 423 pp.[63], capensis is not related to other South African species but to those from Madagascar, and accordingly the type probably came from that area.];

Type species: Typhlops ecocoeti Boulenger, 1887 is the type species for the genus Carrtyphlopea Hoser, 2012, a junior synonym of Ramphotyphlops.

Conservation: this is one of the most-threatened reptile species in Australia (Geyle et al. 2021). 
EtymologyNamed after a word that means "flying fish," and Boulenger so named the snake because officers from HMS “Flying Fish” collected the first specimen. 
  • 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. 1887. Report on a zoological collection made by the officers of H.M.S. Flying Fish at Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Proc. zool. Soc. London 1887: 516-517 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Cogger, H.G. and Sadlier, R.A. 2000. The Terrestrial Reptiles of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean – a reappraisal of their status. Australian Museum, Sydney. 195 pp
  • Geyle, H. M., Tingley, R., Amy, A., Cogger, H., Couper, P., Cowan, M., Craig, M., Doughty, P., Driscoll, D., Ellis, R., Emery, J-P., Fenner, A., Gardner, M., Garnett, S., Gillespie, G., Greenless, M., Hoskin, C., Keogh, S., Lloyd, R., ... Chapple, D. 2020. Reptiles on the brink: Identifying the Australian terrestrial snake and lizard species most at risk of extinction. Pacific Conservation Biology - get paper here
  • Gibson-Hill, C.A. 1947. The terrestrial reptiles [of the Christmas Islands]. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 18: 81-86
  • Greer, A. E. 1997. The biology and evolution of Australian snakes. Surrey, Beatty and Sons, Sydney, 350 pp.
  • 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
  • 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
  • James, D.J.; P.T. Green, W.F. Humphreys, and J.C.Z. Woinarski 2019. Endemic species of Christmas Island, Indian Ocean. Rec. Western Austr. Mus. 34: 055–114; DOI: 10.18195/issn.0312-3162.34(2).2019.055-114 - get paper here
  • McDiarmid, R.W.; Campbell, J.A. & Touré,T.A. 1999. Snake species of the world. Vol. 1. [type catalogue] Herpetologists’ League, 511 pp.
  • Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829 (1): 001–081 - get paper here
  • Rendahl, H. 1918. Zwei neue Arten der Gattung Typhlops aus dem Kaplande. Arkiv för Zoologi 11 (17): 1-6 - get paper here
  • Roux-Estève, R. 1974. Révision systématique des Typhlopidae d'Afrique. Reptilia. Serpentes. Mém. nation. Hist. nat., Paris, (sér.A.) 87: 1-313
  • Wallach, V. 2003. Scolecophidia miscellanea. Hamadryad 27 (2): 222-240 - get paper here
  • Wallach, V. & Glaw, F. 2009. A new mid-altitude rainforest species of Typhlops (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Madagascar with notes on the taxonomic status of T. boettgeri Boulenger, T. microcephalus Werner, and T. capensis Rendahl. Zootaxa 2294: 23–38 - 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.
  • Wells R W; Wellington C R 1984. A synopsis of the class Reptilia in Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology 1 (3-4): 73-129 [1983]
  • Wells, R. W. and Wellington, C. R. 1985. A classification of the Amphibia and Reptilia of Australia. Australian Journal of Herpetology, Supplementary Series (1): 1-61 [sometimes cited as 1983] - get paper here
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