Agamodon anguliceps Peters, 1882, "Barava (African orientalis)" Brava, Somali Republic.
PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS This wormlizard has a steep, wedge-shaped head with sharp, raised edges. Its average body length is 4-8 in (100-180 mm). The tail is approximately 8% of total length. The species is pink ventrally, and it has dark blotches on a yellow background dorsally. Its dentition is acrodont, with a semifused row of teeth on both upper and lower jaws. The median premaxillary tooth is usually flanked by two other, smaller premaxillary teeth. It has three to four teeth on the maxillary, and six to eight teeth on the lower jaw.
Southcentral coast of Somali Republic, eastern Ethiopia. HABITAT
This species inhabits loose sandy soils in sandy scrub forests and deserts.
Agamodon anguliceps is a highly derived trogonophid, exhibiting the most specialized anatomy and behavior within this group. Much of this specialization is related to the oscillatory locomotion that is used in the relatively uncompressible, sandy soils in which it lives. Agamodon anguliceps exhibits a fright reaction when disturbed, consisting of rolling onto its back, lying still, and exhibiting the pink underside of the body. Some evidence indicates that A. anguliceps exhibits vertical migratory movements through the soil corresponding to times of day. For instance, movements in the soil peak at dawn and dusk and individuals are generally closer to the surface around dusk, while they are found much deeper in the soil after dawn.
No studies examining the natural diet of Agamodon anguliceps exist. If we presume that the diet of A. anguliceps is similar to that of other amphisbaenians, then it would consist of small invertebrates such as termites, beetles, and beetle larvae. On the other hand, laboratory-based behavioral studies indicate that, when offered larger prey items, A. anguliceps is capable of attacking, killing, biting, and efficiently eating various vertebrates. This is not surprising considering the heavy jaws and chewing muscles exhibited in this species.
No specific data exist on the reproductive behavior of Ag-amodon anguliceps. This species is believed to be oviparous.
CONSERVATION STATUS Not listed by the IUCN.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦
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