No evolutionary convergence between Australia and southern Africa in snakes and legless lizards, part 2

Lists of species in the study areas:



Aprasia pulchella restricted to southwest of study area if present, SV 11-12 cm TL 20.0?,

Aprasia repens SV 11.0 - 12.6 cm T L 20.0? cm

Aprasia striolata SV 12-13 cm TL 21.5? cm and

Delma fraseri fraseri SV 12-13 and up to 14 cm TL 42 cm

Delma hebesa SV up to 8 cm TL 23? cm occurs in kwongan and mallee-heath, and

Lialis burtonis SV 29 cm uncommon and and

Pygopus lepidopodus SV 27.4 cm


Acanthophis antarcticus somewhat adder-like, rare in study area, and

Echiopsis curta somewhat adder-like,

Elapognathus coronatus eats mainly skinks and frogs

Notechis scutatus occidentalis mixed diet including frogs,

Pseudonaja affinis affinis and,ranges%20from%2012%20to%2015.

Rhinoplocephalus bicolor and

Suta gouldii common in study area

Suta nigriceps eats mainly reptiles


Morelia imbricata non-venomous constrictor,


Anilios australis certainly present in northern and eastern part of study area, 8-40 up to 42 cm, stout-bodied,



Chamaesaura anguina anguina SV 9? cm 35-40 up to 49 cm


(Tetradactylus seps occurs in the study area but has legs and is this disqualified from this approach. Its counterpart in the southern African study area is the skink Hemiergis peronii

Tetradactylus tetradactylus tetradactylus SV 7? cm TL 18-24 up to 29 cm, occurs only marginally to study area,


Acontias meleagris meleagris SV 20 cm TL 25 up to 30 cm (tail less than 22% of TL) diet earthworms, beetle larvae and termites

Scelotes bipes only hindlegs present


Crotaphopeltis hotamboeia

Dasypeltis scabra specialised egg-eater,

Dispholidus typus typus eats perching birds and chameleons,


Hemachatus haemachatus occurs only marginally,

Naja nivea


Amplorhinus multimaculatus marshes and damp microsites, prefers frogs,

Boaedon capensis constrictor, m and

Duberria lutrix lutrix specialised slug-eater,

Homoroselaps lacteus eats mainly Leptotyphlops, Rhinotyphlops, small burrowing lizards, and termites, and and,snakes%20(particularly%20blind%20snakes).

Lamprophis fuscus uncommon,

Lycodonomorphus inornatus constrictor, diet of rodents, lizards and snakes,

Lycodonomorphus rufulus diet mainly frogs in waterside locations,

Lycophidion capense capense uncommon in study area, specialises on sleeping lizards,

Prosymna sundevalli sundevalli possibly present, specialist on reptile eggs (, and

Psammophis crucifer rapid-moving although less slender than congeners, mildly venomous, diet mainly small lizards (particularly geckos) but sometimes also frogs,

Psammophis notostictus possibly present

Psammophylax rhombeatus the most frequently observed species of snake in the study area, mixed diet with emphasis on lizards,

Pseudaspis cana specialised rodent-eater, juveniles eat mainly lizards,


Leptotyphlops nigricans 13-17 up to 20 cm, specialised on soft parts of termites, found under graminoid tufts in sandy areas, swims rapidly through sand, clutch 1-7,


Rhinotyphlops lalandei 25-30 up to 35 cm, slender-bodied, clutch 2-4,


Bitis arietans arietans specialised rodent-eater,

Bitis armata

Publicado el marzo 3, 2022 11:16 TARDE por milewski milewski


A basic reference for the distributions of species in the Australian study are is Chapman A & Dell J (1985) Biology and zoogeography of the amphibians and reptiles of the Western Australian Wheatbelt. Rec West Aust Mus 12 (1), 1-46.

Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años

Two other species possibly present in the southern African study area are Lamprophis guttatus ( and L. aurora ( The latter prefers a diet of nestling rodents.

Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años

Possibly reaching the southern African study area is Aspidelaps lubricus (

Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años
Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años

Leptotyphlops nigricans, occurring in the southern African study area, is smaller-bodied (total length up to 19.6 cm) than any snake in the Australian study area. Certain species of Anilios, such as Anilios affinis (, in Australia are somewhat diminutive (total length 22 cm) but are restricted to the tropics.

A similar pattern is evident with respect to Prosymna sundevalli (Lamprophiidae). No species of snake in or near the Australian study area specialises on a diet of reptile eggs. However, at least two species of snakes in tropical/subtropical Australia do specialise on this diet: Brachyurophis incinctus ( and and B. semifasciatus ( and Since these belong to Elapidae, some evolutionary convergence would be evident if the Australian forms were to extend into the Australian study area.

Yet another example of this pattern: the elapid genus Demansia ( contains species similar to the lamprophiid Psammophis crucifer of the southern African study area. However, these occur farther north (including tropically) in Western Australia.

Anuran amphibians (see show particularly clearly this pattern in which the closest counterparts for species occurring near the southwestern tip of Africa can be found in tropical and/or eastern Australia, rather than under the winter-rainfall climate.

Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años
Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años

@alexanderr In this intercontinental comparison, the closest counterparts for non-venomous constrictors are a pythonid, namely Morelia, in the Australian study area vs lamprophiids, namely Boaedon and Lamprophis, in the southern African study area. One of the ways in which these snakes have failed to converge evolutionarily is that the pythonid retains heat-sensitive pits on its face ( and whereas no lamprophiid is known to possess such organs. It is easy to assume that heat-sensitive labial pits are so intrinsic to pythonids that it is unrealistic to expect their loss as part of local adaptation. However, complete loss has actually occurred in certain pythonids living elsewhere in Australia. In the genus Aspidites ( and this adaptive shift has been made, apparently as part of a specialisation on reptilian prey that - unlike mammals such as rodents - do not generate much heat metabolically.

Also see

Publicado por milewski hace más de 2 años

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