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Typhlosaurus caecus (CUVIER, 1816)

IUCN Red List - Typhlosaurus caecus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontinae; Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Southern Blind Legless Skink, Cuvier's Legless Skink 
SynonymAcontias caecus CUVIER 1816: 60
Typhline Cuvierii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 836
Typhline Cuvierii — BIANCONI 1850: 198
Typhlosaurus caecus — PETERS 1882: 84
Typhlosaurus caecus — BOULENGER 1887: 434
Typhlosaurus caecus — WHITING et al. 2003
Typhlosaurus caecus — LAMB et al. 2010 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (W Cape coastal area, from Port Nolloth to near Cape Town)

Type locality: "L'Orient", restricted to "Cape of Good Hope" by Duvernoy, Cuvier 1836-49.  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 0550; paralectotypes: MNHN-RA 3114, MNHN-RA 3115. Syntypes previously given as MNHN 3097 (3119), Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, collecter Péron & Lesueur; MNHN 7157 (3120), Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, collector Delalande. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Body highly attenuate (SVL 31–62 times body diameter), midbody scale rows 10–14, 189 or more ventral scale rows (except T. lomiae, with 140–181), subcaudals 35–60 (except T. lomiae 24–27), dorsal head shields 20–27, five or more chinshields bordering mental, snout strongly acutely angled, eye covered by scales, dorsal pigmentation absent or, if present, consisting of a single or multiple stripes. Lacrimal absent (except T. meyeri), jugal absent, 25 or more caudal vertebrae, pectoral girdle nodular or absent.
CommentType Species: Typhlosaurus cuvierii (Wiegmann, 1834) = Typhlosaurus caecus (Cuvier, 1816) is the type species of the genus Typhlosaurus Wiegmann 1834.

Publication date: Although often cited as Cuvier 1817, “Règne Animal” was published in late 1816 fide Roux 1976.

Limb morphology: Limbless.

Skull morphology: for a comparison of African burrowing skinks see Stepanova & Bauer 2021. 
  • 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.
  • Bates, Michael F., Neil J. L. Heideman, Brian A. Wilson, Martin G. J. Hendricks, Nulfa Don and Carlos Moses 1999. Morphological variation and geographical distribution in the South African lizards Typhlosaurus caecus (Cuvier 1817) and Typhlosaurus vermis Boulenger 1887 (Scincidae: Acontinae). African Journal of Herpetology 47 (2): 35-41 [1998] - get paper here
  • Bianconi, J. J. 1850. Specimina Zoologica Mosambicana II. Mem. Acad. Sci. Ist. Bologna 1: 187- - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D.G. 1968. A review of the African genus Typhlosaurus Wiegmann (Sauria: Scincidae). Arnoldia (Rhodesia) 3 (36): 1-20
  • Cuvier, G. 1816. Le règne animal distribué d’après son organisation, pour servir de base a l’historire naturelle des animaux et d’introduction a l’anatomie comparée. Vol. 2. Les reptiles, les poissons, les mollusques et les annélides. Déterville, Paris [often cited as 1817 but see Roux 1976: 31] - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Lamb, T.; Biswas, S. & Bauer, A.M. 2010. A phylogenetic reassessment of African fossorial skinks in the subfamily Acontinae (Squamata: Scincidae): evidence for parallelism and polyphyly. Zootaxa 2657: 33–46 - get paper here
  • Peters,W. 1882. Naturwissenschaftliche Reise nach Mossambique auf Befehl seiner Majestät es Königs Friedrich Wilhelm IV. in den Jahren 1842 bis 1848 ausgefeführt von Wilhelm C. Peters. Zoologie III. Amphibien. Berlin (Reimer), 191pp.
  • Roux, C. 1976. On the dating of the first edition of Cuvier’s Règne Animal. Journal of the Society for the Bibliography of Natural History 8 (1): 31 - get paper here
  • Stepanova, N., Bauer, A.M. 2021. Phylogenetic history influences convergence for a specialized ecology: comparative skull morphology of African burrowing skinks (Squamata; Scincidae). BMC Ecol Evo 21, 86 - get paper here
  • Wagner, Philipp; Donald G. Broadley, and Aaron M. Bauer 2012. A New Acontine Skink from Zambia (Scincidae: Acontias Cuvier, 1817). Journal of Herpetology 46 (4): 494-502. - get paper here
  • Whiting, A.S.; Aaron M. Bauer and Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships and limb loss in sub-Saharan African scincine lizards (Squamata: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29 (3): 582-598 - get paper here
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