Blackish blindsnake

Ramphotyphlops nigrescens

TAXONOMY

Ramphotyphlops nigrescens Gray, 1845, Australia, Paramatta [Par-ramatta, New South Wales]. No subspecies are recognized.

OTHER COMMON NAMES English: Eastern blindsnake.

Rhinotyphlops schlegelii

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This blindsnake has a total length of 3.8-22.7 in (9.7-57.6 cm). Aspect ratios typically range between 30 and 60. Females grow significantly longer and heavier than males. The snout is bluntly rounded and the eyes are distinctly visible beneath the ocular scales. There are 22 longitudinal scale rows at mid-body. The color is pinkish-brown, purple, or black dorsally, and pink or cream-colored ventrally. The tail often has dark patches on either side of the vent.

DISTRIBUTION

Eastern Australia, from southeastern Queensland to Victoria. HABITAT

The blackish blindsnake occurs in a variety of habitats, from coastal forests to cultivated farmlands. It is relatively common in areas of high human population densities (e.g., Sydney and Brisbane) and is frequently discovered beneath rocks and logs in such areas.

BEHAVIOR

Like other blindsnakes, the blackish blindsnake is fossorial. It frequently congregates in relatively large groups of up to 30

or more individuals. Occasionally, individuals are seen crawling above ground after prolonged drenching rains. One specimen was found 16.4 ft (5 m) above ground in a she-oak (Casuarina).

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The blackish blindsnake feeds almost exclusively on ant brood, although other small invertebrates (e.g., earthworms, leeches) may also be eaten. Ant nests are located by following pheromone trails laid down by adult ants. As many as 1,500 or more ant larvae and pupae may be consumed in a single meal. The species generally feeds only during the spring and summer.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Reproduction in this southern species is highly seasonal. Mating occurs most commonly in late spring, and eggs are deposited during the summer. Clutch size ranges from five to 20 eggs, each weighing 0.04-0.07 oz (1-2 g) and measuring 0.75-1.3 in (19-34 mm) in length and 0.32-0.47 in (8-12 mm) in width. Artificially incubated eggs have taken between 30 and 72 days to hatch (depending on temperature), but natural incubation periods are unknown.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment