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Epictia ater

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Author: Emmanuel Orellana Murillo

Range: Central American from southern Guatemala to NW Costa Rica


Sometimes referred to as Taylor’s blindsnake, this Central American species is native to primarily the western coastal regions of the central countries. It is known to grow up to 19 cm in length, with a moderate build, a dorsally flattened/tapered head slightly broader than its neck, and the tail is moderately long but extremely blunt-ended without much tapering and tipped in a short spine. Dorsal scale count is 212-266, scale row counts 14 dropping to 10 on the tail. Coloration is nearly solid dark brown to black, sometimes with lighter edging to each of the scales, and lightening only slightly to moderately or pale-ish brown on the ventral surface. A small pale yellow spot on the rostral scale of the snout may or may not be present, and a similar blotch is found on the tail wrapping from just above and over the tip to well under the tail. A yellow strip may also be present on the front upper and entire lower lip. This species is distinguished from its closest relatives E. bakewelli in lacking dark dorsal stripes and sporting a darker ventral surface, and from E. goudotii and magnamaculata also in presence of the caudal yellow spot and lack of stripes as well as typically a lack of a distinct unfused frontal scale (located behind the rostral and prefrontals when present).


Habitat: Recorded from almost sea level to 1350 meters in elevation, throughout a diverse range of wet and dry forest types typically in leaf litter or loose soils, or under rocks and logs.


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


Lifespan and Reproduction: Lifespan unknown, likely under 10 years. Oviparous.



Wallach (2016). Morphological review and taxonomic status of the Epictia phenops species group of Mesoamerica, with description of six new species and discussion of South American Epictia albifrons, E. goudotii, and E. tenella (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae: Epictinae). Americanican Herpetology 3(2): 215-374.

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