Leptotyphlopidae

Leptotyphlopidae

Common names: slender blind snakes, thread snakes.
The Leptotyphlopidae are a family of snakes found in North and South America, Africa, and Asia. All are fossorial and adapted to burrowing, feeding on ants and termites. Currently, 2 genera are recognized comprising 87 species.

Description

These are relatively small snakes rarely exceeding 30 cm in length; only Leptotyphlops macrolepis and L. occidentalis grow larger. The cranium and upper jaws are immobile and there are no teeth in the upper jaw. The lower jaw consists of a much elongated quadrate bone, a tiny compound bone, and a relatively larger dentary bone. Among these snakes is what is believed to be the world's smallest: the Lesser Antillean threadsnake, L. bilineatus. The newly described L. carlae (Hedges, 2008) is reported to be even smaller.

Geographic range

Found in Africa, western Asia from Turkey to northwestern India, on Socotra Island, from the southwestern United States south through Mexico and Central America to South America, though not in the high Andes. In Pacific South America they occur as far south as southern coastal Peru, and on the Atlantic side as far as Uruguay and Argentina. In the Caribbean they are found on the Bahamas, Hispaniola and the Lesser Antilles.

Habitat

Occur in a wide variety of habitats from arid areas to rainforest and are known to occur near ant and termite nests.

Feeding

Their diet consists mostly of termites or ants, their larvae and pupae. Most species suck out the contents of insect bodies and discard the skin.

Reproduction

Oviparous (egg-laying).

Genera

Genus Taxon author Species Common name Geographic range
LeptotyphlopsT Fitzinger, 1843 86 Slender blind snakes, thread snakes Africa, southwestern Asia, on Socotra Island, from the southwestern United States south through Mexico, Central America and South America as far as Uruguay and Argentina. In the Caribbean they are found on the Bahamas (San Salvador Island), the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Hispaniola and the Lesser Antilles.
Rhinoleptus Orejas-Miranda, Roux-Estève and Guibé, 1970 1 Villiers' blind snake West Africa: Senegal and Guinea.
T) Type genus.

See also

References

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