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The systematic status of the Ramphotyphlops flaviventer (Peters) complex (Serpentes: Typhlopidae)

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An examination of the type specimens of Typhlops aluensis Boulenger, T. buehleri Hediger, T. depressus Peters, T. flaviventer Peters, T. philococos Wemer, T similis Brongersma, and T. supranasalis Brongersma, in conjunction with external and internal morphology, indicates that Ramphotyphlops flaviventer (sensu McDowell) consists of two easily recognizable allopatric populations here considered as valid species, a western one referred to R. flaviventer and an eastern one referred to R. depressus. Two additional taxa (R. similis and R. supranasalis), closely related to R. flaviventer, appear to deserve recognition. Ramphotyphlops similis is distinct from R. flaviventer in external morphology and thus elevated to full species status. The status of R. supranasalis is debatable but it is provisionally treated as a full species based upon discrete supranasals and an insular distribution. A taxonomic synopsis and preliminary identification key to the Ramphotyphlops flaviventer complex are provided.

Affiliations: 1: Center for Vertebrate Studies, Department of Biology, Northeastern University, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA


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