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Epictia hobartsmithi

Image source: Esqueda, L. F. et al. 

Range: Guyaquinima Tepui, Bolivar Venezuela


Hobart Smith’s blindsnake is a rare species known only from a few museum collected specimens and old photographs taken from the top of a single tepui in Venezuela. This species grows up to 19 cm in length, with a relatively thick build for a blindsnake, a short round head no wider than the neck with a smoothly curving snout, and a short, blunt tail tipped in a small spine. Dorsal scale count is quite low at 191-208, scale rows 14 reduced to 10 caudally. Coloration is a uniformly black overall both dorsally and ventrally, save for a yellow blotch on the rostral and adjoining scales and a similar spot over the tail tip, fading underneath toward brown near the vent. The uniformly dark color and yellow blotches separate this species from most of its relatives, as well as by a supraocular scale separating the eye from the supranasal and other small scalation details.


Habitat: presumed to be endemic to the Stegolepis-dominated savannah habitats scattered from 500-1500 meters in elevation among forest on the tepui, living under rocks, logs, and in termite or ant nests.


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


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

Sources: Esqueda, L. F. et al. (2015). Una Nueva Especie de Cieguita o Serpiente de Gusano (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae : Epictia) nativa del Tepui Guai quinima, Provincia Pantepui en el Escudo de Guayana , Venezuela. Atlas Serpientes de Venezuela p. 414-425.

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