English name: Roxane’s Blind Snake (aka “Bangkok Blind Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis roxaneae (formerly Typhlops roxaneae)
Description: The single specimen known was 23.1cm in length and 6mm in diameter. May appear to be a worm at first glance, but can be distinguished by its scales, dry skin, eyes, and flicking tongue. Scales are small and shiny. Body is stout and tail short for a blind snake. Coloration is 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 lacks the yellow snout/cloaca and is smaller and more slender.
White-headed Blind Snake is more slender and has a pale head.
Slender Worm Snake has white or cream on snout rather than yellow and is much more slender.
Diard’s Blind Snake is darker and lacks yellow snout and cloaca.
Mueller’s Blind Snake lacks yellow snout/cloaca and has a clear defining line between dark upper coloration and creamy white rather than yellowish 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 spend most of the time under cover. Likely travels on the surface on rainy or humid nights.
Contribution to the ecosystem: This snake helps control insect and other arthropod populations by feeding on their larvae and pupae. It provides food for 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