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Leptotyphlops pungwensis


Range: Pungwe Flats, Mozambique


The Pungwe worm snake is a Mozambique endemic species, restricted to the Pungwe flats near the south-central coastline. This is possibly one of the world’s smallest snake species, beat perhaps only by the Barbados threadsnake, as the record for this taxon is only 10.5 cm long (however the only individual found was a juvenile female, so size may be inaccurate) with a moderately slender build. The head is barely broader than the neck, with an elongate wedge-shaped rostral scale and lengthwise bisected interparietal (between the larger parietal plates on the back of the head). The tail is very short, conical, and tipped in a small spine. Scale row count midbody is 14, 10 on the tail, and dorsal scale count is on average 252. Coloration is pale brown overall with darker cranial spots and white patches scattered across the ventral surface. This species can be distinguished from its relatives by the structures of the cranial scales and pale coloration, as well as several internal characteristics.


Habitat: Coastal forest along the Pungwe River, likely lives in leaf litter and soft soils.


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


Lifespan and reproduction: lifespan unknown, likely under 10 years. Reproduction unknown, most likely oviparous.



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