Thursday, November 23, 2023

[Herpetology • 2023] Indotyphlops combank • A New blindsnake Species (Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae: Indotyphlops) from the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka

Indotyphlops combank
N. Wickramasinghe, Vidanapathirana, De Silva, Tennakoon, Samarakoon & L.J. M. Wickramasinghe, 2023

Based on both morphological and genetic evidence, we describe a new species of typhlopid snake from the dry zone of Sri Lanka, the first scolecophidian snake species to be described from Sri Lanka for nearly 75 years. Being the ninth member to the genus from the island, the new species can be distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characteristics: small body (total length 94–131 mm, snout–vent length 91–128 mm, tail length 2.1–2.8 mm); 20 longitudinal body scale rows; narrow rostral, longer than wide in dorsal aspect (rostral width/rostral length 0.55–0.57), not extending to level of eye; frontal shield extending to upper level of eye; 322–352 middorsal scales (not including intercalary scales); 306–342 midventrals; divided nasal scale; first gland line across head straight, not extending to ocular level; second gland line convex, midpoint reaching midlevel of eye. We have provided molecular phylogenetic evidence to support its distinctiveness from the phenotypically similar I. braminus. 

Key words: herpetology, Indotyphlops braminus, molecular phylogenetics, systematics, taxonomy

The Combank Blindsnake, Indotyphlops combank
a typhlopid snake endemic to the dry zone of Sri Lanka
photo by L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe

Indotyphlops combank sp. nov. 

Etymology. The specific epithet (combank in English) is a noun in apposition, which refers to Commercial Bank (PLC) Sri Lanka. The name is in recognition of the bank’s support for Sri Lankan biodiversity discovery and conservation.


Nethu Wickramasinghe, Dulan R. Vidanapathirana, Mahesh C. De Silva, Kamani H. Tennakoon, Sameera R. Samarakoon and L.J. Mendis Wickramasinghe. 2023. A New blindsnake Species (Squamata: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae: Indotyphlops) from the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. TAPROBANICA. 12(2); 37–47.