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Brahminy Blind Snake (Ramphotyphlops braminus)

About

Blind snake on the ground

First year: 1979

Established status: Populations are confirmed breeding and apparently self-sustaining for 10 or more consecutive years.

Estimated Florida range: 11 counties  At least 10 years, 4 counties  Less than 10 years, 5 counties  Not reported breeding

Statewide trend: Expanding

Threats to natives: None known or likely.

Species Account: This is the most widespread terrestrial snake species in the world due to its parthenogenetic mode of reproduction (all-female populations) and close association with humans (Wynn et al. 1987). It might be native to Asia but has been spread via the shipment of potted plants throughout tropical and subtropical parts of the world. This is a small, very slender snake that resembles a wiry worm and burrows in loose moist soil, primarily for termites and ant pupae. It can be found in large numbers under surface debris (Bartlett 1997), and it has been found in Dade County pine rocklands under the bark and rotten interiors of standing dead slash pine trees (K. M. Enge, FFWCC, Quincy, personal observation). It is less than 16.5 cm (6 in) long, has a blunt rounded tail that resembles the head, has no constriction at the neck, and has vestigial eyes that appear as black dots beneath translucent scales. The back is dark gray, brown, or black. The belly is lighter, and white to buffy yellow coloration may be present on the snout, lower lips, chin, throat, tail tip, and anal area (Conant and Collins 1991).

Habitats: Exotic plant community, Low density suburban development, areas peripheral to core urban areas, and small towns, Agricultural habitat, Recently disturbed, early successional community, Rockland Hammock, Pine Rockland, Flatwoods, Mesic Hammocks

References

Austin, D. F., and A. Schwartz. 1975. Another exotic amphibian in Florida, Eleutherodactylus coqui. Copeia 1975:188.

Bartlett, D. 1997. A search for the obscure. Reptiles Magazine 5(7):32-38.

Conant, R., and J. T. Collins. 1991. A field guide to amphibians and reptiles of eastern and central North America. Third edition. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 450pp.

Crawford, D. M., and L. A. Somma. 1993. Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 24:68.

Delorey, C. J., and H. R. Mushinsky. 1987. Ramphotyphlops bramina (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 18:56.

Ehrig, R. W. 1990. Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 21:41.

Ernst, C. H., and C. W. Brown. 2000. Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 31:256.

Grace, M. S., and J. U. Van Dyke. 2004. Geographic distribution: Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 35:293-294.

Hennessy, K. C., and M. Michalak. 2004. Geographic distribution: Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 35:193.

Krysko, K. L., J. N. Decker, and A. T. Reppas. 2000. Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 31:256.

Krysko, K. L., K. M. Enge, J. H. Townsend, E. M. Langan, S. A. Johnson, and T. S. Campell. In Press. New county records of amphibians and reptiles from Florida. Herpetological Review.

Meshaka, W. E., Jr. 1994. Ramphotyphlops braminus Brahminy blind snake. Herpetological Review 25:34.

Owen, R. D., D. T. Bowman, Jr., and S. A. Johnson. 1998. Ramphotyphlops braminus (Brahminy blind snake). Herpetological Review 29:115.

Wynn, A. H., C. J. Cole, and A. L. Gardner. 1987. Apparent triploidy in the unisexual Brahminy blind snake, Ramphotyphlops braminus. American Museum Novitates 2868:1-7.

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