Leptotyphlops nigroterminus, Published, 2007

Published, First, 2007, A revision of the genus Leptotyphlops in northeastern Africa and southwestern Arabia (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae), Zootaxa 1408, pp. 1-78: 40-42

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Leptotyphlops nigroterminus

sp. nov.

Leptotyphlops nigroterminus   sp. nov. ( Plate 12, Fig. 1)

Black-tip worm snake

Glauconia signata   — Sternfeld, 1910: 13 (part, Tabora).

Leptotyphlops conjuncta   — Vesey-FitzGerald, 1958: 35.

Leptotyphlops scutifrons   — Spawls et al., 2002: 299 (part).

Holotype. MCZ 54813 View Materials , a male from Karema , eastern shore of Lake Tanganyika, Mpanda District, Rukwa Region, Tanzania (06°50’S, 30°50’E, elevation 950 m), collected by C.J.P. Ionides, 7 July 1956. GoogleMaps  

Allotype. MCZ 52634 View Materials , a female from Manyoni , Manyoni District, Singida Region, Tanzania (05°43’S, 34°50’E, elevation 1270 m), collected by C.J.P. Ionides, 24 August 1951. GoogleMaps  

Paratypes. MCZ 54653 View Materials — Kipangate , Rukwa Valley, Tanzania, collected by D. Vesey-FitzGerald, February 1955   ; NMK /O.420 — Mpanda , Mpanda District, Rukwa Region, Tanzania (07°57’S, 32°25’E), collected by Ortlepp, May 1959 GoogleMaps   ; KU 172930 View Materials — a female from Mara Serema Lodge , Masai Mara Reserve, Narok District, Kenya (01°23’S, 35°00’E, 1585 m), collected by W.E. Duellman, 18 August 1976 GoogleMaps   ; ZMB 51610 View Materials * — Tabora, Tabora District, Tabora Region, Tanzania, collected by Wintgens   ; CAS 227733 View Materials — Msago Shamba , Mpanda District, Tanzania (07°06' S, 31°09'), collected by   T. A. Gardner , 14 April 2003   .

Diagnosis. Apart from its distinctive skull, with a rhombic postparietal bone and paired parietals ( Plate 4, Fig. 2A), this unique form differs from all other African species in its light brown colouration with the distal portion of the tail black.

Etymology. The specific name is derived from the diagnostic black tail tip; from the Latin niger = black and terminus = tip.

Description (paratype variations in parentheses). Body cylindrical, with head and neck broadened and flattened, the short tail tapers slightly to a small terminal spine.

Snout rounded, rostral broad (0.53–0.67 head width, mean = 0.59), fused with the frontal, unguiform, extending well beyond the level of the eyes, a preoral groove present ventrally. Behind rostral, upper lip bordered by infranasal (nostril midway between rostral and supralabial along nasal suture), small anterior supralabial with width along lip twice that of infranasal, large but narrow ocular, and tall posterior supralabial. Supraoculars pentagonal, anteriorly wedged in between supranasal and ocular, posteriorly in straight contact with the hexagonal postfrontal, which is subequal in size to the supraoculars, interparietal and interoccipital. Parietals oblique and in contact with the posterior supralabials. Occipitals not fused (fused in all 5 paratypes). Temporal single. No mental, four infralabials.

Body covered with 14 rows of smooth, imbricate, subequal scales. Reduction to 12 rows on the tail takes place lateral to the subtriangular cloacal shield, which is entire (tail rows 12 in the allotype, 10 in the four paratypes). Total middorsals 236 (228 in other male, 260–300 in females); subcaudals 23 (27 in other male; 25–27 in females).

Total length 159 mm, tail 12 mm; midbody diameter 3.5mm.

Total length/diameter ratio 45 (46–84); total length/tail ratio 13.2 (11.7–14.8).

Middorsal seven scale rows medium brown, rostral and dorsal tail blackish-brown, paler brown ventrally, distal half of tail with black ring (in the smallest specimen of 82 mm total length only the extreme tip of the tail is black, in the other paratypes the distal third of tail has black ring).

Size. Largest specimen ( MCZ 52634 View Materials — Manyoni , Tanzania) 180 + 13 = 193 mm   .

Habitat. The habitat in western Tanzania is miombo woodland, but in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya the vegetation is a mosaic of evergreen bushland and secondary Acacia   wooded grassland (White, 1983).

Distribution. Southwestern Kenya and western Tanzania, 1000–1600 m ( Plate 11).


Museum of Comparative Zoology


National Museums of Kenya


Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas


Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (Zoological Collections)


Tavera, Department of Geology and Geophysics














Leptotyphlops nigroterminus

Published, First 2007

Leptotyphlops scutifrons

Spawls, S. & Howell, K. & Drewes, R. & Ashe, J. 2002: 299

Leptotyphlops conjuncta

Vesey-Fitzgerald, D. F. 1958: 35

Glauconia signata

Sternfeld, R. 1910: 13