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Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Cladus: Reptiliomorpha
Cladus: Amniota
Classis: Reptilia
Cladus: Eureptilia
Cladus: Romeriida
Subclassis: Diapsida
Cladus: Sauria
Infraclassis: Lepidosauromorpha
Superordo: Lepidosauria
Ordo: Squamata
Subordo: Serpentes
Superfamilia: Typhlopoidea

Familia: Typhlopidae
Subfamilia: Afrotyphlopinae
Genus: Letheobia
Species (37): L. acutirostrata – L. akagerae – L. angeli – L. caeca – L. coecata – L. crossii – L. debilis – L. decorosus – L. episcopus – L. erythraea – L. feae – L. gracilis – L. graueri – L. jubana – L. kibarae – L. largeni – L. leucosticta – L. logonensis – L. lumbriciformis – L. manni – L. mbeerensis – L. newtoni – L. pallida – L. pauwelsi – L. pembana – L. praeocularis – L. rufescens – L. simoni – L. somalica – L. stejnegeri – L. sudanensis – L. swahilica – L. toritensis – L. uluguruensis – L. weidholzi – L. wittei – L. zenkeri

Letheobia Cope, 1868: 322

Type species: Onychocephalus caecus Duméril, 1856, by subsequent designation of Peters (1881: 70).

Primary references

Cope, E.D. 1868. An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton Expedition to Equador and the upper Amazon, with notes on other species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 20: 96–140. BHL

Additional references

Broadley, D.G. & Wallach, V. 2007. A review of East and Central African species of Letheobia Cope, revived from the synonymy of Rhinotyphlops Fitzinger, with descriptions of five new species (Serpentes: Typhlopidae). Zootaxa 1515: 31–68. Abstract & excerpt. Reference page.
Hedges, S.B., Marion, A.B., Lipp, K.M., Marin, J. & Vidal, N. 2014. A taxonomic framework for typhlopid snakes from the Caribbean and other regions (Reptilia, Squamata). Caribbean Herpetology 49: 1–61. Full article (PDF). Reference page.
Pyron, R.A. & Wallach, V. 2014. Systematics of the blindsnakes (Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopoidea) based on molecular and morphological evidence. Zootaxa 3829(1): 1–81. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.3829.1.1 Reference page.
Malonza, P.K., Bauer, A.M. & Ngwava, J.M. 2016. A new species of Letheobia (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from central Kenya. Zootaxa 4093(1): 143–150. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4093.1.10 Paywall Reference page.
Dehling, J.M., Hinkel, H.H., Ensikat, H-J., Babilon, K. & Fischer, E. 2018. A new blind snake of the genus Letheobia (Serpentes: Typhlopidae) from Rwanda with redescriptions of L. gracilis (Sternfeld, 1910) and L. graueri (Sternfeld, 1912) and the introduction of a non-invasive preparation procedure for scanning electron microscopy in zoology. Zootaxa 4378(4): 480–490. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4378.4.2 Reference page.
Wallach, V. & Gemel, R. 2018. Typhlops weidholzi n. inedit., a new species of Letheobia from the republic of Cameroon, and a synopsis of the genus (Squamata: Serpentes: Scolecophidia: Typhlopidae). Herpetozoa 31(1/2): 27–46. Full article (PDF). Reference page.
Trape, J.-F. 2019. Scolecophidiens (Squamata : Ophidia) nouveaux d’Afrique centrale (In French). Bulletin de la Société Herpétologique de France 169: 27–44. Reference page.


Uetz, P. & Hallermann, J. 2021. Letheobia . The Reptile Database. Accessed on 1 January 2019.

Letheobia is a genus of blind snakes in the family Typhlopidae.[1]

Geographic range

The genus is endemic to Africa.[1]

In 1869, the genus Letheobia was established by Edward Drinker Cope based primarily on two specimens of Letheobia pallida from Zanzibar, but later also including Letheobia caeca (originally Onychocephalus cæcus Duméril, 1856) from Gabon. Wilhelm Peters, in 1874 when describing Onychocephalus lumbriciformis from Zanzibar and in 1878 Typhlops unitaeniatus from Kenya, considered Letheobia to be a subgenus. Nonetheless, in 1881, Peters selected Letheobia caeca Duméril as the type species for the genus. In 1883, Boulenger decided that at best Letheobia was a subgenus of Typhlops, and placed it as a junior synonym. Later in reconstructing Rhinotyphlops in 1974, Roux-Estève moved all of Letheobia species into Rhinotyphlops, mostly into her Groups IV, V and VI. However, molecular studies in the 2000s showed that Rhinotyphlops, as conceived by Roux-Estève (1974), was polyphyletic, and that many if not all of Groups V and VI constituted a separate genus, for which the name Letheobia had priority.[2] In 2007 Broadley and Wallach formally revived the genus Letheobia. In 2013, Pyron et al. considered with some certainty that Letheobia was a sister group to the combined genera Afrotyphlops and Megatyphlops, while the three were then sister to Rhinotyphlops, and the four were the sister to Typhlops.[3]

The genus Letheobia contains the following 37 species which are recognized as being valid.[4]

Letheobia angeli (Guibé, 1952)
Letheobia acutirostrata (Andersson, 1916)
Letheobia akagerae Dehling, Hinkel, Ensikat, Babilon & E. Fischer, 2018
Letheobia angeli (Guibé, 1952)
Letheobia caeca (A.H.A. Duméril, 1856)
Letheobia coecatus Jan, 1864
Letheobia crossii (Boulenger, 1893)
Letheobia debilis (Joger, 1990)
Letheobia decorosus (Buchholz & W. Peters, 1875)
Letheobia episcopus (Franzen & Wallach, 2002)
Letheobia erythraea (Scortecci, 1928)
Letheobia feae (Boulenger, 1906)
Letheobia gracilis (Sternfeld, 1910)
Letheobia graueri (Sternfeld, 1912)
Letheobia jubana Broadley & Wallach, 2007
Letheobia kibarae (De Witte, 1953)
Letheobia largeni Broadley & Wallach, 2007
Letheobia leucosticta (Boulenger, 1898)
Letheobia lumbriciformis (W. Peters, 1874)
Letheobia manni (Loveridge, 1941)
Letheobia mbeerensis Malonza, Bauer & Ngwava, 2016
Letheobia newtoni (Bocage, 1890)
Letheobia pallida Cope, 1869
Letheobia pauwelsi Wallach, 2005
Letheobia pembana Broadley & Wallach, 2007
Letheobia praeocularis (Stejneger, 1894)
Letheobia rufescens (Chabanaud, 1916)
Letheobia simonii (Boettger, 1879)
Letheobia somalica (Boulenger, 1895)
Letheobia stejnegeri (Loveridge, 1931)
Letheobia sudanensis (Schmidt, 1923)
Letheobia swahilica Broadley & Wallach, 2007
Letheobia toritensis Broadley & Wallach, 2007
Letheobia uluguruensis (Barbour & Loveridge, 1928)
Letheobia weidholzi Wallach & Gemel, 2018
Letheobia wittei (Roux-Estève, 1974)
Letheobia zenkeri Sternfeld, 1908

Nota bene: A binomial authority in parentheses indicates that the species was originally described in a genus other than Letheobia.

The specific name, pauwelsi, is in honor of Belgian herpetologist Olivier Sylvain Gérard Pauwels.[5]

Wallach, Van (2005) "Letheobia pauwelsi, a new species of blindsnake from Gabon (Serpentes: Typhlopidae)." African Journal of Herpetology 54 (1): 85-91.
Broadley, Donald G.; Wallach, Van (2007). "A review of East and Central African species of Letheobia Cope, revived from the synonymy of Rhinotyphlops Fitzinger, with descriptions of five new species (Serpentes: Typhlopidae)". Zootaxa. 1515: 31–68. Abstract
Pyron, Robert Alexander; Burbrink, Frank T.; Wiens, John J. (2013). "A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes". BMC Evolutionary Biology. 13 (1): 93–145. doi:10.1186/1471-2148-13-93. PMC 3682911. PMID 23627680.
Genus Letheobia at The Reptile Database.

Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael; Grayson, Michael (2011). The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. xiii + 296 pp. ISBN 978-1-4214-0135-5. (Letheobia pauwelsi, p. 202).

Further reading

Cope ED (1868). "Observations on REPTILES of the Old World. Art. II". Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 316-323. (Letheobia, new genus, p. 322).
Roux-Estève R (1974). "Révision systématique des Typhlopidae d'Afrique. Reptilia. Serpentes ". Mém. nation. Hist. nat., Paris, (sér. A) 87: 1-313. (in French).


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