Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the January 28, 2006 Newsletter issued from near Telchac Pueblo, in northwestern Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula


*UPDATE: In 2015 an expert in this group of snakes at a university in the US wrote to me that he was preparing a technical paper in which he will describe the snake shown on this page as a species new to science. It currently has no name, in the past being confused with other species. It is a very narrowly endemic species in the genus Epictia, found only in the northern Yucatan, and closely related to Epictia phenops. The collected individual from which the technical or Latin description will be made -- the "type" collection" -- was collected here at Chichén Itzá. The species exists as an "island population" well separated geographically from similar species. In a year or so its name should be published, and then we hope to update this page.

*UPDATE: In 2016 our snake receives the name EPICTIA VINDUMI. It is named and published by Van Wallach in the June, 2016 issue of Mesoamerican Herpetology, Vol 3,#2.

*Having the gardeners Roberto and Francisco calling me whenever they turn up an interesting critter has been wonderful. While they machete weeds and dig up new beds for flowers they stumble across amazing organisms every day. This Wednesday they grinningly called me over to check out what they'd demobilized beneath a cup. Roberto had seen this one escaping from beneath a plank on the ground, after he'd poured some water there.

It was the smallest snake I'd ever seen, even smaller than snakes I've seen just emerged from their eggs, and it's shown at the rightl.

I didn't know what it was and even with my handlens it was too small to get a positive ID.

What a find!

Seeing this little critter just made my week!

from the April 11  2010 Newsletter issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort beside Chichén Itzá Ruins, central Yucatán, MÉXICO

Returning from my banana-buying hike to Pisté I was gathering wool with my unfocused eyes scanning just the next couple of feet before me, my view consisting of cracked asphalt at the highway's very edge. Then somehow a crack didn't seem right. I got on my hands and knees and looked closer and still couldn't figure out what was going on -- not until I poked at the crack with my finger and an incredibly small, dark snake writhed out of his crack. You can see him below:


He was about three inches long (7 cm), and when I saw a yellow spot on one of his blunt ends I realized I'd seen such a thing before -- down in Chiapas, and before that here in the Yucatán. Neither time had I been able to figure out for sure what species he was, for even with my handlens details were too tiny to make out. A graduate student in California finally identified the snake as LEPTOTYPHLOPS GOUDOTII {see update at top of page}, in some books called the Goudot's Thread Snake, and in others the Black Worm Snake.

The literature has given me the impression that this species is fairly rare, but having run into it now in several widely separated localities I'm thinking that despite its exotic appearance it must be fairly common. It seems to like disrupted, trashy places, so maybe it's actually becoming more common as time passes.