English name: Roxane’s Blind Snake (aka “Bangkok Blind Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis roxaneae (formerly Typhlops roxaneae)
Description: This species is known from a single specimen found in the Bangkok area, which was 23.1cm in length and 6mm in diameter. Like other blind snakes it may appear to be a worm at first glance, but can be distinguished by its small shiny scales, eyes, and flicking tongue. Coloration was golden brown above and yellow-tan below. The snout and cloacal region were yellow with a yellow ring around the tail tip.
Similar Species: Brahminy Blind Snake is usually smaller and lacks the yellow snout/cloaca.
White-headed Blind Snake is more slender and has a pale head.
Slender Worm Snake is more slender and has white or cream on snout rather than yellow.
Diard’s Blind Snake is larger, bulkier, and darker in color without the yellow snout and cloaca.
Mueller’s Blind Snake is larger, bulkier, lacks yellow snout/cloaca and has a clear defining line between upper coloration and cream underbelly.
Blind snake species are difficult to distinguish from each other, so if you need more specific identifying markers you should use this key to the blind snakes in Thailand.
Habitat: Only one specimen has been found, in a school garden outside an urban area. Like other blind snakes, it would be expected to spend most of the time underground. Likely travels on the surface on rainy or humid nights.
Place in the ecosystem: Little is known about the species, but this snake is expected to control insect and other arthropod populations by feeding on their larvae and pupae. It may be eaten by larger fossorial snakes and other animals.
Danger to humans: Blind snakes are harmless – they have no venom and their mouths are too small to bite a human. When uncovered or picked up they tend to respond by wiggling vigorously and emitting a small amount of smelly musk.
Conservation status and threats: With only one specimen ever found, and that in a major urban area, this species may be extinct. However, it may simply be cryptic and be quite common in unknown localities – such is the difficulty when dealing with blind snakes.
Interesting facts: A single subadult female of this species was found on the grounds of Bangkok International School on October 2, 1963. It sat in a museum collection and wasn’t identified as a new species until 38 years later. No other individuals have ever been identified.
Typhlops roxaneae, a new species of Thai blindsnake from the T. diardii species group, with a synopsis of the Typhlopidae of Thailand
Typhlops roxaneae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012