The subfamily Epictinae contains about 75 currently recognized species of strictly fossorial snakes distributed along the Neotropics (subtribe Renina) and Equatorial Africa (subtribe Rhinoleptini). Although several studies have addressed some internal phenotypic characters complexes for the taxa included in this subfamily, most of the available data are limited to skull morphology and visceral topology. Additionally, many studies, when reporting glandular information, do not provide comparative data obtained through of a replicable methodology. In this study, we aimed to describe in detail the macrostructure of the cephalic glands for the members of the subfamily Epictinae. We provide herein the first report of a rictal gland for the infraorder Scolecophidia, as well as the first report of an infralabial accessory gland for the family Leptotyphlopidae. We highlight the utility of glandular qualitative characters for the systematics and even alpha taxonomy of this group of snakes that frequently exhibits a conserved external morphology. Furthermore, we also discuss possible functional aspects related to the Harderian gland in association to the M. adductor externus superficialis based on macrostructure observations of Epictinae specimens.
Zoomorphology – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 6, 2018
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