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The Central and South American Anomalepid Snakes of the Genus Liotyphlops

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The essential characters of the anomalepid snake genus Liotyphlops are found in its osteology, scale rows, numbers of dorsals, size, and head scale arrangements. The twelve currently recognized species of Liotyphlops are reduced to five through the analyses of variation of all available specimens in the Genus. Liotyphlops caracasensis, L. cucutae, L. guentheri, L. incertus, L. metae, L. petersi, and L. rowani, are placed in the synonomy of other species. One currently recognized synonym, L. beui, is removed from synonomy and recognized as a separate species. A new species is described from the Rio Magdalena basin of Colombia, and one individual from Brazil represents an apparent new species, but is not formally described in this paper. Other species of Liotyphlops recognized by us areL. albirostris, L. anops, L. schubarti, L. ternetzii, and L. wilderi. Variation in lateral head scale arrangements is documented for a large series of L. albirostris from Panama. Head scale variations, variations in numbers of scale rows about the body, and absence ofan unified method of labeling head scales has produced an excessive number of synonyms for the species of the genus. A new method for labeling lateral head scales of Liotyphlops is proposed, the entire distribution ofthe genus is clarified, and a key to the species is presented.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843; 2: Museum of Zoology and Department of Zoology and Physiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.


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