Letheobia swahilica, Wallach, Van, 2007

Wallach, Van, 2007, A review of East and Central African species of Letheobia Cope, revived from the synonymy of Rhinotyphlops Fitzinger, with descriptions of five new species (Serpentes: Typhlopidae), Zootaxa 1515, pp. 31-68: 46-47

publication ID

http://doi.org/ 10.5281/zenodo.177278

persistent identifier

http://treatment.plazi.org/id/03B587D9-FF9A-3803-90A8-F8B5F1E6FAA7

treatment provided by

Plazi

scientific name

Letheobia swahilica
status

sp. nov.

Letheobia swahilica   sp. nov.

( Fig 4 View FIGURE 4 B)

Swahili gracile blind-snake

Typhlops pallidus   – (not Cope) Sternfeld 1908 b: 242, 1910: 12 (part); Boulenger 1915: 616 (part); Loveridge 1916: 82 (part), 1924: 4 (part), 1936: 227; Werner 1921: 330 (part); Loveridge 1957: 244 (part); Broadley & Howell 1991: 21 (part).

Rhinotyphlops pallidus   – Roux-Estève 1974: 217, 1975: 445 (part); Spawls 1978: 2; Hughes 1983: 354; Broadley & Broadley 1996: 45; Spawls et al. 2002: 295; Spawls et al. 2006: 92 (part).

Holotype. MCZ 40076 View Materials , a male from old village of Ngatana, ca. one mile northwest from new village of Wema, in the lower Tana River, Coast Region, Kenya (02° 30 ’S, 40 ° 15 ’E, elevation 50 m), collected by A. Loveridge, 14 June 1934.

Paratypes. MCZ 40075 View Materials , 40077- 78 with the same data as the holotype; ZMB 21150 View Materials , 62069 Takaungu, Kenya; NMK-S/ 3947 Mazeras, Kenya; ZMB 25866 View Materials Zanzibar Coast; NMZB 14290 Kwamarimba Forest Reserve, Tanzania.

Diagnosis. Closely related to Letheobia pallida   , distinguished by its more robust build (length/diameter ratio 49–62 vs 62–82) and fewer middorsals (376–392 vs 418–433).

Description. Snout rounded, prominent. Rostral very broad, truncated posteriorly; frontal crescentic; supraocular transverse, its lateral apex between nasal and ocular, the latter separated from the lip by a large subocular; eye usually not visible, but visible beneath the nasal/ocular sulcus in NMZB 14290; nasal suture arising from second labial; SIP X (N 1, P, O, O); scale rows 24 - 22 - 22; MD 376–392; vertebrae 235–260; MD/ V ratio 1.56–1.62; L/D ratio 49–62. Colourless.

Size. Largest specimen ( ZMB 25866 View Materials – Zanzibar Coast) 190 mm in total length.

Etymology. Named for the Swahili people of the coastal strip opposite Zanzibar Island.

Habitat. Coastal forest and environs. The Ngatana series was taken “under vegetable debris heaped along banks of a rice swamp” ( Loveridge, 1936). NMZB 14290 was taken in scrub woodland (old shamba land) which was forested within the last 20 years ( Broadley & Broadley, 1996). One specimen collected under vegetation debris within 5 cm of the soil surface at the bottom of a valley filled with coconut palms, mangos, bananas, sugarcane, and Ficus   trees. Although the slopes of the valley were covered with xeric vegetation, it had rained recently and the ground was moderately wet (D. J. Gower, pers. comm.).

Distribution. Coastal areas of Kenya and northern Tanzania, 0–50 m ( Fig. 10 View FIGURE 10 ).

Localities. KENYA. Mazeras at Bonje village, Kilifi District NMK-S/ 3947; Mombasa ( Loveridge, 1916); Ngatana ( Loveridge, 1936) MCZ 40075 View Materials - 78; Takaungu (Sternfeld, 1908, 1910) ZMB 21150 View Materials , 62029; Vipingo ( Spawls, 1978). TANZANIA. Kwamarimba Forest Reserve ( Broadley & Broadley, 1996) NMZB 14290; Zanzibar coast ( Sternfeld, 1910) ZMB 25866 View Materials .

MCZ

Museum of Comparative Zoology

ZMB

Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)

NMZB

National Museum of Zimbabwe

Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Reptilia

Order

Squamata

Family

Typhlopidae

Genus

Letheobia

Loc

Letheobia swahilica

Wallach, Van 2007
2007
Loc

Rhinotyphlops pallidus

Spawls 2006: 92
Spawls 2002: 295
Broadley 1996: 45
Hughes 1983: 354
Spawls 1978: 2
Roux-Esteve 1974: 217
1974
Loc

Typhlops pallidus

Broadley 1991: 21
Loveridge 1957: 244
Werner 1921: 330
Loveridge 1916: 82
Sternfeld 1908: 242
1908