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Leptotyphlops mbanjensis


Range: Extreme southeast coastal Tanzania


The Mbanja worm snake is recently described and rarely seen, an endemic of the Southern Province of Tanzania. This species grows up to 13.5 cm in length, with a moderately slender build. The head is narrower than the neck, unlike most of its relatives, with a broad rostral scale, and the tail is short and conical, lacking the typical genus spine in many cases and tapering more bluntly. Scale row count midbody is 14, tail 10, and dorsal scale count is 185-197. Color is a uniform dark brown to blackish, with the edges of the supralabial and first infralabial (upper lip) scales edged in white. The borders of the cloacal shield and adjacent scales are similarly white edged. This species can be distinguished from its close relatives such as L. emini by its lower dorsal scale count, and a triangular postparietal (rear cranial) bone.


Habitat: Found in grass roots in long-grass savannah and mango orchard forests, between 90-130 meters in elevation. Also found in leaf litter and soft soils.


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


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



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