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Epictia goudotii

Image source: Author Jeff Villalba

Used under copyright

Range: Northern-central Colombia and northwestern coastal Venezuela, neighboring islands


Formerly considered a widespread species before several taxa were separated out of it and identification of related species made clearer, the nominate “Black” or Goudot’s blind snake is a native to the northwestern edges of South America, along the western flank of the northern Andes in Colombia as well as coastal regions of Colombia and Venezuela including some offshore islands bordering those countries. It grows to roughly 16 cm in length, with a slender, even cylindrical build, a short rounded head that tapers slightly toward the snout, and a short blunt tail tipped not in a spine like many relatives but a blunt cone shape. Dorsal scale count is 227-260, scale row count 14 midbody reduced to 10 caudally. Coloration is typically overall very dark brown to black dorsally, sometimes with slightly lighter scale edges producing faint longitudinal stripes. Ventral surface is pale brown and sometimes lightly speckled, and occasionally a small pale spot barely covers the upper tip of the tail, even more rarely a matching spot on the rostral scale of the nose as well. This species is distinguished from most close relatives including the possibly distinct Venezuelan E. fallax by its general lack of anterior or caudal spots, poorly defined or absent dorsal stripes, slightly tapered rather than rounded snout, small and rounded rather than distinct and elliptical eyes, and the lack of the spine on the tail.


Habitat: recorded from riparian wooded corridors and shrublands, thorn forests, pine savannahs, and tropical deciduous forests from 0-1300 meters in elevation, in loose soil and leaf litter, under logs, bark, and other cover, and likely termite nests.


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


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


Sources: Jeff Villalba under
Van 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). Mesoamerican Herpetology 3: 216-374.

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