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Leptotyphlops macrops

Range: Coastal Kenya and Tanzania

 

Referenced as the Goggle-eyed worm snake (due to the unusually largesize and bulging state of the degenerate eyes of this species), L. macrops is known only from the narrow strip of coastline forest between northeastern Tanzania and bordering Kenya, from Mchungu and the Pangani District in Tanzania north to Witu in central coastal Kenya. It is a rather large threadsnake, with females recorded at up to 29 cm in length, though averaging around 19 cm, with a slender build and a head slightly broader than the neck. The rostral scale is a thirdthe width of the head, the eyes housed under a bulging ocular scale and with a more notably developed structure, including the presence of a visible iris. The tail is blunt, tipped in a short spine. Midbody scale row count is 14, tail rows 10; dorsal scale count is 291-313, a very high number compared to many of its relatives. Coloration is a solid glossy black dorsally and ventrally, without any notable patterns or patches of other color. Females are usually larger than males. This species is readily distinguished from its relatives by its bulging “goggle eyes,” lack of pattern on a solid black background, and numerous internal characteristics including unipartite (undivided) singular testes, a greater number of liver segments, and mid-body location of kidneys and reproductive organs.

 

Habitat: Under leaf litter in lowland evergreen woodlands, below 1000 meters in elevation, and neighboring moist savannahs (rarely in new agricultural fields).

 

Pry: Unknown, likely small soft-bodied invertebrates such as ant and termite larvae.

 

Lifespan and reproduction: Lifespan unknown, likely under 10 years. Oviparous, lays a small number of elongate ovular eggs.

 

Sources: https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/21326766/original.jpeg?1531586607

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/32487-Leptotyphlops-macrops

https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/44979811/44979817#geographic-range

http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Leptotyphlops&species=macrops

Broadley and Wallach (1996). Remarkable new worm snake (Serpentes: Leptotyphlopidae) from the East African coast. Copeia 1996(1): 162-166.