Distribution

Typhlopidae is the largest and most widely distributed of the three families of blindsnakes. It includes six genera and approximately 214 species and has a predominantly tropi-copolitan distribution. The genus Acutotyphlops includes four species that are restricted to easternmost Papua New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, and the Solomon Islands. Cycloty-phlops includes a single species, C. deharvengi, which is known only from the type specimen collected in southeastern Sulawesi. The genus Ramphotyphlops contains approximately 57 species that are distributed throughout Southeast Asia, Australia, New Guinea, the Bismarck Archipelago, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, and perhaps other Pacific Islands as well. One species (R. exocoeti) is endemic to Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. In addition, the parthenogenetic flowerpot blindsnake, R. braminus, has been introduced throughout much of the world through the horticultural trade and is now established in Africa, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Mexico, Central America, the Hawaiian Islands, Florida, and even Boston, Massachusetts. The genus Rhinotyphlops includes 30 species, most of which are restricted to mainland Africa. However, R. feae and R. newtoni are endemic to the islands of Sâo Tomé and Príncipe in the Gulf of Guinea; R. simoni is native to Syria, Jordan, and Israel; and R. acutus is endemic to the Indian subcontinent. Typhlops is the largest of the six ty-phlopid genera, containing approximately 121 species. In the Old World, this genus is distributed from southeastern Europe through Southeast Asia (including Sri Lanka and the Indian subcontinent), and is also found throughout subequatorial Africa, Madagascar, and the Middle East. In addition, a small number of species are known from Príncipe Island in the Gulf of Guinea (T. elegans) and Socotra (T. socotranus), the Comoro Islands, (T. comorensis), and the Andaman Islands (T. an-damanesis and T. oatesii) in the Indian Ocean. In the New World, Typhlops is confined to the Neotropical region, ranging from southern Mexico southward to northeastern Argentina. In addition, 26 species are endemic to the islands of the West Indies. Finally, the genus Xenotyphlops includes a single species, X. grandidieri, which is known only from two specimens believed to have been collected in Madagascar.

From a standpoint of species diversity, the worldwide distribution of Typhlopidae is highly uneven; nearly 85% of all recognized species are restricted to the Old World. In addition, approximately 45% of typhlopid species are known only from islands. Typhlopids are known to occur throughout a wide range of elevations, ranging from sea level to at least 7,497 ft (2,285 m) above sea level (T. meszoelyi in the Indian Himalayas).

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