Discovery of a new genus of threadsnakes based on anatomical and molecular data
The systematics of Leptotyphlopidae is historically controversial mostly due to their conserved external morphology in comparison with other snakes. However, recent studies have stressed that anatomical data might be informative for clarifying the leptotyphlopid taxonomy and evolution. We erect a new genus to accommodate Leptotyphlops collaris based on evidence from osteology, hemipenial morphology, and molecular data. We also provide expanded data regarding the intraspecific variation based on additional specimens collected in field trips and literature data, performing
detailed comparisons among the new genus and all other New World leptotyphlopids. The new genus is distinguished from other leptotyphlopids by its unique hemipenial morphology and its exclusive combination of osteological and external morphology characters, with molecular data also supporting the new generic arrangement. We also provide a comprehensive discussion of the hemipenial morphology for the subfamily Epictinae based on literature and novel data gathered herein.