Bismarck blindsnake

Acutotyphlops subocularis

TAXONOMY

Acutotyphlops subocularis Waite, 1897, Duke of York Island (Bismarck Archipelago). No subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

None known.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This species has a total length of 7.5-15.5 in (19.1-39.4 cm). The tail is 3.0-4.5% of total length in females, but may be as long as 6.3% of total length in males. Males also have a greater number of subcaudal scales (22-31) than females (14-23). In both sexes, the tail terminates in a relatively large, thornlike apical spine. Aspect ratios range from 23 to 44, but average approximately 32. The snout is somewhat pointed, especially in lateral view (but not as acutely conical as in A. infralabialis and A. kunuaensis). The lower jaw is V-shaped in ventral view. The small eyes are visible beneath the ocular scale. There are 32-36 longitudinal scale rows at midbody, and there are 363-472 middorsal

Ramphotyphlops nigrescens
Acutotyphlops subocularis

scales. The color is dark brown dorsally, and golden-yellow ventrally.

DISTRIBUTION

Bismarck Archipelago (New Britain, New Ireland, Umboi, and Duke of York Islands) and eastern Papua New Guinea (Mo-robe Province).

HABITAT

Not known.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This is the only species of blindsnake known to feed exclusively (or at least predominantly) on earthworms. Based on the condition of prey found in the stomachs of preserved museum specimens, it appears that worms are swallowed whole.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The reproductive biology is not known, but the closely related A. kunuaensis from Bougainville Island is believed to deposit relatively small clutches (often consisting of only one or two eggs) in August or September.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

BEHAVIOR

Little is known about the behavior of this species. However, numerous morphological features (e.g., pointed head, solidly constructed bony snout, thick neck) suggest that these snakes may be particularly powerful burrowers.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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