Reptiles and Amphibians of Thailand

Thailand's Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, and Frogs

Trang Blind Snake

Argyrophis trangensis

This species is found in Thailand, but not within Bangkok itself
Trang Blind Snake Typhlops trangensis Argyrophis Thailand FMNH 178236 งูดินตรัง Ngu-din Trang
Only known specimen of the Trang Blind Snake (Field Museum / CC BY-NC)

English name: Trang Blind Snake (aka “Trang Worm Snake”)
Scientific name: Argyrophis trangensis (formerly Typhlops trangensis)
Thai name: งูดินตรัง (Ngu-din Trang)

Description: 15.5 cm. Body is grey/ultramarine on top and yellowish-white below with a sharp dividing line between (colors appear different after preservation). Tail is short and has no sharp point.

Relevant scale counts: Scales on the head are notably large and the SIP pattern of the one known specimen was T-II on one side and T-V on the other. There are 24 rows of scales around the body at all points.

Similar Species: Diard’s Blind Snake has no sharp dividing line between upper and lower coloration, smaller head scales, and the number of body scale rows reduces near both ends.
Mueller’s Blind Snake is dark brown to black above and white below, has smaller head scales, and the number of scale rows reduces near both ends.
Striped Blind Snake has light lines on the body and no sharp dividing line between upper and lower coloration.

A full breakdown of identifying characteristics can be found in this key to the blind snakes in Thailand.

Range: It is only known from Trang Province, Thailand.

Habitat: The only known specimen was found under a rotting log near a waterfall in moist primary lowland forest.

Place in the ecosystem: Likely feeds on small soft-bodied insects. Would be eaten by larger snakes.

Danger to humans: Not dangerous at all.

Conservation status and threats: This snake is known from a single specimen collected at Khao Chong in Trang in 1962, now preserved at the Field Museum of Natural History. The species has not been seen since and may be extinct, though blind snakes can be difficult to find and thus there is still a chance it is hanging on somewhere in Khao Chang or nearly areas. The protection of that habitat is critical to any potential furthered existence of the species.

Interesting facts: To my awareness there are no existing pictures of a live Trang Blind Snake. There is a black-and-white photo of the preserved specimen in the original species description (Taylor 1962) and then the color photos taken above by the Field Museum where the specimen is stored. However, the process of preserving a specimen with formaldehyde and alcohol changes its color and appearance. For that reason it is very important to read the description of the specimen and not just rely on the photographs, which may not entirely reflect how it looked in real life.

References:
“New Oriental Reptiles” in the University of Kansas Science Bulletin
A Key to the Blind Snakes in Thailand
Thai National Parks: Trang Blind Snake
Reptile Database: Argyrophis trangensis
IUCN: Argyrophis trangensis
Zoological Collections: The Field Museum of Natural History

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