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Trilepida macrolepis (PETERS, 1858)

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Higher TaxaLeptotyphlopidae, Epictinae, Epictini, Typhlopoidea, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: Big-scaled Blind Snake
Portuguese: Cobra-Cega, Minhocão 
SynonymStenostoma macrolepis PETERS 1858
Stenostoma (Tricheilostoma) macrolepis — JAN 1861
Glauconia macrolepis — BOULENGER 1893: 69
Leptotyphlops macrolepis — RUTHVEN 1922: 64
Leptotyphlops ihlei BRONGERSMA 1933
Leptotyphlops macrolepis — GASC & RODRIGUES 1980
Leptotyphlops macrolepis — STARACE 1998: 77
Leptotyphlops macrolepis — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 35
Leptotyphlops macrolepis — ROCHA et al. 2004
Tricheilostoma macrolepis — ADALSTEINSSON et al. 2009
Trilepida macrolepis — HEDGES 2011
Tricheilostoma macrolepis — PINTO & FERNANDES 2012
Tricheilostoma macrolepis — BARKER et al. 2012
Tricheilostoma macrolepis — COLE et al. 2013
Trilepida macrolepis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 739
Trilepida macrolepis — PINTO & FERNANDES 2017
Trilepida macrolepis — NOGUEIRA et al. 2019 
DistributionPanama, Colombia (incl. Valle del Cauca), Venezuela (Cojedes), Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, N Brazil (Para, Rio de Janeiro), Ecuador

Type locality: “Carácas, Puerto Cabello” [Venezuela], restricted to “Puerto Cabello” by designation of the lectotype.  
TypesLectotype: ZMB 1434 (designated by OREJAS-MIRANDA 1967)
Paralectotypes: ZMB 5294, 5722
Holotype: RMNH 4466 [ihlei] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Species of Trilepida have 14 midbody scale rows, 12 midtail scale rows, 173–288 middorsal scale rows, 6–16 subcaudals, three (two in G. greenwelli) supralabials, small anterior supralabials (large in G. sundewalli), 112–188 mm maximum adult total length, a body shape of 24–69.2 (total length/width), a relative tail length of 2.4–7.0 %, a tail shape of 1.4–4.3, no striped pattern, a brown dorsum (unpigmented in G. greenwelli), and paler brown venter (Table 2). They are distinguished from the other genus in this tribe, Rhinoleptus, by having 14 midbody scale rows (versus 16), 12 midtail rows (versus 14), 173–288 middorsal rows (versus 302–546), 6–16 subcaudals (versus 21–28), and a body shape of 24–69.2 (versus 67–77) [ADALSTEINSSON et al. 2009].

Martins et al. (2021) proposed the following combination of osteological characters to diagnose the genus Trilepida from other Epictinae: (a) presence of a single parietal which is not fused to any element (vs. fused to supraoccipital in Tetracheilostoma; see Martins et al., This volume); (b) parietal fontanelle absent (vs. present in a few Rena; see Martins, 2016); (c) paired nasals (vs. fused in a few Rena and a few Epictia; List, 1966; Rieppel et al., 2009); (d) supraoccipitals fused as a single unit that is distinct from the parietal and otooccipitals (vs. paired in Epictia, Rena; fused to parietal in Tetracheilostoma); (e) the basioccipital participating in the formation of the foramen magnum (except for T. nicefori; vs. not participating in Epictia and Habrophallos); and (f) the prootics being distinct from the otooccipitals (vs. indistinct in Mitophis and Tetracheilostoma; Martins et al., This volume). This combination of characters does not occur in any other Epictinae.

Diagnosis (species). Trilepida macrolepis is distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: snout truncate in dorsal and ventral view, rounded in lateral view; supraocular present; ocular subhexagonal with rounded shape at the eye level; enlarged eyes occuping most ocular width; rostral subtriangular in dorsal view not reaching ocular level; frontal longer than other midsaggital head scales; temporal distict; three supralabials (2+1); four infralabials; 211–243 middorsal scales in females and 218–243 in males; 217–225 midventral scales in females and 204–221 in males; 18–24 subcaudal scales in males and 16–21 in females; fused caudals present; 10 scales around the middle of tail; dorsum uniformly dark brown to black on seven dorsal scale rows, contrasting with the pale brown to brown covering the centre of scales on the seven lateroventral rows (adapted from PINTO-RICHARD et a. 2010).

Diagnosis: Trilepida macrolepis can be distinguished from all congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) snout truncate in dorsal and ventral views and rounded on lateral view; (2) supraocular present; (3) rostral subtriangular in dorsal view not reaching the anterior limit of ocular scale; (4) rostral similar in size as supranasals; (5) frontal scale longer than other middorsal cephalic shields, and smaller than supraoculars; (6) three supralabials (2+1); (7) four infralabials; (8) scales at midtail 10; (9) fused caudals present; (10) middorsals 211–243 in females and 218–243 in males; (11) midventrals 217–225 in females and 204–221 in males; (12) subcaudals 16– 21 in females and 18–24 in males; and (13) seven dorsal scales rows with dark brown to black pigmentation in contrast with seven pale brown ranging to brown covering the center of scales in ventral rows with lighter borders (from Pinto & Fernandes 2017).

Comparisons. Trilepida macrolepis differs from T. brasiliensis by having supraocular scales (vs. absent of supraocular); differs from T. guayaguilensis by having fused caudals (vs. absence of fused caudals); differs from T. affinis, T. dimidiata, T. jani, and T. nicefori by having three supralabials (vs. two supralabials); differs from T. pastusa by having four, rarely six infralabials (vs. five infralabials); differs from T. joshuai by having snout rounded on lateral view (vs. truncate); differs from T. fuliginosa and T. koppesi by having snout truncate on dorsal and ventral views (vs. rounded); differs from T. macrolepis from T. anthracina by having frontal smaller than supraocular (vs. frontal longer than supraocular); differs from T. brevissima by having frontal longer than other middorsal cephalic shields (vs. with similar size); differs from T. dugandi by having rostral subtriangular in dorsal view (vs. semicircular); differs from T. salgueiroi by having rostral as long as supranasals (vs. shorter than supranasals). Refers to Table 1 for additional meristic and color differences between congeners (from Pinto & Fernandes 2017). 
CommentSynonymy: Orejas-Miranda 1996, Hoogmoed 1977, Pinto & Fernandes 2017.

Type species: Stenostoma macrolepis PETERS 1857 is the type species of the genus Trilepida HEDGES 2011. Loveridge (1957) erroneously designated Stenosoma macrolepis as type species of the genus Tricheilostoma (see Tricheilostoma bicolor for details). 
EtymologyNamed after its large scales (Greek makros = large, lepis = scale)

The genus name is from classical Greek, feminine, meaning three scales, in allusion to the presence of presence of three supralabials. 
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