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Epictia alfredschmidti

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Range: west-central Peru, Andean foothills northeast of Lima


A rare threadsnake of western South America, this species is documented from only a handful of specimens found in a restricted range in the Andean foothills of central Peru. It is known to grow to at least 26 cm in length, with a cylindric slender build, a short, rounded and slightly flattened head with a very blunt snout and large triangular rostral scale, and a very short, stubby tail tipped in a small spine. Dorsal scale count is 267-279, scale row count 14 reduced to 10 as it transitions to the tail. Coloration is distinctive, black with four slender reddish brown stripes that extend neck to tail, the two central stripes continuing further past the neck to connect with the yellowish rostral scale. Lower sides and most of the cheek and lip region on the head below/behind the eyes are also yellowish, wrapping in paler to white tones around the chin and tail minus small darker blotches. The ventral surface is dark gray to black. This species is distinct from most of its relatives in sporting this tricolor patterning, and from its most close relatives in size and middorsal count; E. teaguei is smaller and possesses fewer middorsals, as well as a fully black chin, and E. tricolor is larger with more middorsals, lacks the striping in the main body, and has a solid cream tail without ventral blotches.


Habitat: found at 2700-2800 meters in elevation, in semi-dry scrubby to cloud-forest type ecosystems, under rocks and other debris.


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


Lifespan and reproduction: lifespan unknown, likely under 10 years. Oviparous, may lay 2-10 elongate cylindrical eggs.


Sources: Lehr, E., Wallach, V., Köhler, G., & Aguilar, C. (2002). New Species of Tricolor Leptotyphlops (Reptilia: Squamata: Leptotyphlopidae) from Central Peru. Copeia, 2002(1), 131–136.

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