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Epictia antoniogarciai

Image source: Koch et al. (2015), Fig. 6

Range: Andes valleys in Northwestern Peru


This species has no given common name, though could fittingly be called Antonio Garcias’ blindsnake. It is a denizen of a unique region, within a central forested valley in the Peruvian Andes along a headwater river of the Amazon. This snake is known to grow to at least 19 cm in length, with a relatively thick cylindric build for a blindsnake. The head is short and rounded, slightly dorso-ventrally flattened and just smaller than the body diameter, the tail equally short and thick with a rapid taper at the tip to a blunt spine. Midbody scale row count is 14, dropping to 10 on the tail; middorsal scale count is between 190-210. Coloration is an overall very dark brown to black, but each scale is lined along its rear edge with pale to brilliant yellow, matched by a yellow rostral patch and tail tip. Ventral color is a somewhat lighter gray or brown, sometimes spotted with darker markings. This species can be distinguished from its relatives by its relatively low dorsal scale count (and range), and its unique black-with-yellow-margins coloration and yellow extremity patterns (similar snakes typically present with stripe-like patterns or a lighter brown base color).


Habitat: known only from the Marañón River valley and adjoining corridors from 900-1300 meters in elevation, within tropical dry forest where it may be found within loose soils, under rocks or logs, or within ant and termite nests. Highly threatened by local deforestation/agriculture and dam development along the river corridors.


Prey: likely feeds on small soft-bodied invertebrates such as ant and termite larvae.


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


Sources: Koch et al. (2015). Three new endemic species of Epictia Gray, 1845 (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) from the dry forest of northwestern Peru. Zootaxa 3964(2): 228-244.

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