Epictia albifrons

Epictia albifrons.jpeg

Range: Near Belém, Brazil

Sometimes referred to as Wagler’s blind snake, this is a taxon steeped in controversy due to a century of lost type specimens and confusing records. The only confirmed location for the species is in northeast Brazil near Belém, though records may exist matching it to other sightings and collections throughout the Guyana Shield into northeast Venezuela and even into Trinidad and Tobago. This species reaches at least 16.8 cm in length, with a slender build and a head slightly narrower than the neck and trunk, tapering mildly back to front with a rounded snout. The tail is short, barely 1 cm long if that, ending in a rapidly tapered spiny tip. The rostral scale is prominent and sagittate (arrowhead-shaped), eyes large for a blind snake and almost bulging; dorsal scale count is 206-218 and midbody scale row count 14, 10 caudally. Color is overall brownish with a series of 7 dark brown and 6 lighter to tan-yellow stripes running longitudinally head to tail, the former often comprised of diamond-shaped spots on individual scales. The rostrum is also marked by a yellow patch, a smaller similar patch covering the tail tip; ventral surface is cream near the head, darker midbody, and paler again near the tail. Juveniles are a more uniform brown and may gain pattern with age. Females may be slightly larger than males, and this species can be distinguished from its relatives by the presence of fewer middorsal scales, its sagittate rostral scale shape, lack of a subocular scale, and from its very close relative E. tenella by a truncated apex on the rostral scale, angled nasal suture (an indent running from the top jaw to the nostril), and the supraocular (above eye) scale not touching the labial scales lining the mouth.

 

Habitat: leaf litter and loose soils, possibly under bark or logs, in tropical rainforest.

 

Prey: unknown but most likely soft-bodied invertebrates such as ant and termite larvae.

 

Lifespan and reproduction: lifespan unknown, likely under 10 years. Oviparous.

 

Sources: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/70499444 a_f_r under license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

https://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Epictia&species=albifrons

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/539647-Epictia-albifrons

http://mesoamericanherpetology.com/uploads/3/4/7/9/34798824/mh_3-2_wallach.pdf