Xenophidion acanthognathus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Reptilia Squamata Xenophiidae

Scientific Name: Xenophidion acanthognathus Günther & Manthey, 1995
Taxonomic Notes: There is considerable debate about where this genus should be placed. Wallach and Günther (1998) established a new family, Xenophiidae, for the genus, but the Reptile Database places it under the Tropidophiidae. This assessment was first published under the family Tropidophiidae, but as there is no clear justification for this, it has been moved back under Xenophiidae until such time as the placement of this group is resolved.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2011-09-01
Assessor(s): Inger, R.F., Iskandar, D., Vogel, G. & Das, I.
Reviewer(s): García, N. & Bowles, P.
Contributor(s): De Silva, R., Milligan, HT, Wearn, O.R., Wren, S., Zamin, T., Sears, J., Wilson, P., Lewis, S., Lintott, P. & Powney, G.
Xenophidion acanthognathus has been assessed as Data Deficient, because it is only known from two localities at present, both of which are in areas which suffer high rates of deforestation.. However, not enough is known about this species' ecology to infer the impacts of threats on this species. Extensive unsuccessful searches on the island of Borneo make it unlikely that this species is widespread across the island. More surveys are needed to confirm its range on Borneo as well as its abundance and resilience to threats.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This recently described species is at present only known from two localities, Kinabalu and from Mendolong, Sipitang District, Sabah,  Malaysia (Guenther and Manthey 1995, Wallach and Guenther 1998). The specimen from Mendolong (Sabah) was found at 600 m. asl. above sea level in secondary forest (Guenther and Manthey 1995).
Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Number of Locations:2
Upper elevation limit (metres):600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Inger pers comm. "made thorough searches of thousands of square meters of forest floor litter- with the help of very sharp-sighted local men" and found only one specimen, which implies that this species occurs in low densities (Günther and Manthey 1995). Further very extensive surveys have been conducted in Borneo and only one further specimen has been recovered, leading R. Inger (pers. comm.) to believe that the likelihood that this species is widespread in Borneo is "very remote".
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This snake is fossorial (Inger and Voris 2001), remaining in the leaf litter and under moss within moist forests (Günther and Manthey 1995). It was collected from a selectively logged forest (Günther and Manthey 1995).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: There are no reports of this species being utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): It is unknown what impact deforestation is having on the species, as it is only known from two localities and not much is known about its ecology.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are no known species-specific conservation measures in place for this species. Further research is needed on this species to confirm its taxonomy,  its range in Borneo, as well as its abundance and resilience to threats.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats

Bibliography [top]

Gunther, R. and Manthey, U. 1995. Xenophidion, a new genus with two new species of snakes from Malaysia (Serpentes, Colubridae). Amphibia-Reptilia 16(3): 229-240.

Inger, R.F. 2007. pers. comm. Red List Assessment.

Inger, R.F. and Voris, H.K. 2001. The Biogeographical Relations of the Frogs and Snakes of Sundaland. Journal of Biogeography 28(7): 863-891.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

McMorrow, J.and Talip, M.A. 2001. Decline of forest area in Sabah, Malaysia: Relationship to state policies, land code and land capability. Global Environmental Change 11: 217-230.

Wallach, V. and Günther, R. 1998. Visceral anatomy of the Malaysian snake genus Xenophidion, including a cladistic analysis and allocation to a new family. Amphibia-Reptilia 19(4): 385-404.

Citation: Inger, R.F., Iskandar, D., Vogel, G. & Das, I. 2012. Xenophidion acanthognathus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T178498A1536883. . Downloaded on 20 June 2018.
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