Added 30 January 2014. Last updated 13 February 2014: added link to Helminthophis and Typhlophis.

Anomalepididae

Introduction

A small family found in the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina. The species are fossorial (burrowing) and found mainly in forests. It is presumed that like their relatives, the blind- and thread snakes, these snakes, none of which is larger than 40cm, prey on soft-bodied invertebrates and their eggs and larvae.

Zug, Vitt and Caldwell give the characteristics of the family as follows: cranially, two common carotid arteries, edentulous premaxillaries, longitudinally oriented maxillaries with solid teeth, and optic foramina that perforate the frontal; mandible has coronoid bone, and each dentary 1-3 teeth; no cranial infrared receptors in pits or surface indentations; no vestiges of limbs externally visible, but pelvic remnants occur in trunk musculature; intracostal arteries arise from dorsal aorta at nearly every trunk segment; left lung absent, tracheal lung present; left oviduct usually well developed although reduced in some Anomalepis. 2-13 eggs are laid, although this is based on limited data.

I am not aware of any of these species being kept in captivity.

Genus

Common Name

Distribution

No. of species

Notes

Anomalepis

Blind Snakes

Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru

4

 

Helminthophis

Blind Snakes

Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, Costa Rica,

3

 

Liotyphlops

Blind Snakes

Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, Surinam, Ecuador, Paraguay and Argentina

10

Centred on Colombia and Brazil.

Typhlophis

Trinidad Blind Snakes

Venezuela, Trinidad, French Guiana and Brazil; poss. Guyana and Surinam

1

 

Bibliography





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