Nonnatives - Brahminy Blind Snake

Brahminy Blind Snake - Ramphotyphlops braminus

 

Florida's Nonnative Wildlife. Species detail.

First year: 1979

Extirpated year:

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

Brahminy Blind Snake
Photograph by Kevin M. Enge © 2003

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

 

Region First Year   Extirpated Year Breeding status    Notes
SOUTH 1982

 

At least 10 years

 

 

County First Year Extirpated Year Breeding status Notes
ALACHUA 1998

 

Not reported breeding Gainesville (Townsend et al. 2002)
BROWARD 2000

 

Less than 10 years Davie (Krysko et al. 2000)
COLLIER 2001

 

Less than 10 years Marco Island (Krysko et al., in press)
DADE 1987

 

At least 10 years Coral Gables (Wynn et al. 1987)
HIGHLANDS 1993

 

Less than 10 years Lake Placid (Meshaka 1994)
LEE 1991

 

At least 10 years Fort Myers (Conant and Collins 1991)
LEON 1999

 

Not reported breeding Two road-killed specimens found in Killearn Estates, Tallahassee (D. G. Cook, 1999, FFWCC, Tallahassee, personal communication)
MONROE 1982

 

At least 10 years Old Town, Key West (Ehrig 1990)
ORANGE 2000

 

Less than 10 years Winter Park (Ernst and Brown 2000)
PALM BEACH 1987

 

At least 10 years 16 km W of South Bay (Delorey and Mushinsky 1987)
PINELLAS 1992

 

Less than 10 years St. Petersburg (Crawford and Somma 1993)
SEMINOLE 1998

 

Not reported breeding Casselberry (Owen et al. 1998)
BREVARD 2004

 

Not reported breeding West Melbourne (Grace and Van Dyke 2004)
HILLSBOROUGH 2003

 

Less than 10 years Tampa (Hennessy and Michalak 2004)
CITRUS 2002

 

Not reported breeding Inverness (Krysko et al., in press)

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.

Links to more information

Florida Museum of Natural History info

Ohio public library info

Back to Nonnative Reptiles



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