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Abronia zongolica GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, CLAUSE, GUTIÉRREZ- RODRÍGUEZ, CAZARES-HERNÁNDEZ & TORRE-LORANCA, 2022

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAbronia zongolica GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, CLAUSE, GUTIÉRREZ- RODRÍGUEZ, CAZARES-HERNÁNDEZ & TORRE-LORANCA 2022 
DistributionMexico (Veracruz)

Type locality: Ayahuatulco, Municipality of Mixtla de Altamirano, Sierra de Zongolica, Veracruz, Mexico (18.60°N, 97.02°W), 1600 m elevation.  
Reproductionviviparous (or ovo-viviparous); a captive female Abronia zongolica birthed four neonates in early May that measured 30–33 mm snout-to-vent length (García-Vázquez et al. 2022). 
TypesHolotype: MZFC-HE 35664, adult male collected by J. R. Hernández-Ginez on 20 December 2018. Paratypes (n = 6): MZFC-HE, MZFZ. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “Abronia zongolica can be distinguished from all described congeners (including members of the former genus Mesaspis) by the following combination of characters: (1) one occipital scale; (2) two primary temporal scales contacting the postocular series; (3) posterolateral head scales moder- ately protuberant; (4) supra-auricular scales granular, not protuberant or spine-like; (5) 30–34 transverse dorsal scale rows; (6) dorsal scales on the flanks arranged in slightly oblique longitudinal rows relative to the ventrolateral fold; (7) lateralmost row of ventral scales unexpanded relative to the adjacent medial row.” (García-Vázquez et al. 2022).

Comparisons: “Among members of the former genus Mesaspis, which was recently placed in the synonymy of Abronia based on genomic evidence (Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al., 2021), Abronia zongolica differs from all species by having dorsal scales on the flanks arranged in slightly oblique longitudinal rows relative to the ventrolateral fold (vs. parallel longitudinal rows), and by having 30–34 transverse dorsal scale rows (vs. .40 rows). The new species further differs from A. cuchumatanus, A. gadovii, and the A. moreletii complex by having 14 longitudinal dorsal scale rows (vs. 16 or 18, 16–18, and 18–22, respectively); from A. antauges and A. juarezi by having vertebral and paravertebral dorsal scales distinctly keeled at midbody in adults (vs. smooth to slightly convex); from A. viridiflava by having the frontonasal scale present (vs. absent); and from A. monticola by having a divided postmental scale in 6/7 or 86% of specimens (vs. undivided).
Among members of Abronia not formerly attributed to the genus Mesaspis, Abronia zongolica differs from all species except the deppii group (sensu Campbell et al., 2016; contra Campbell and Frost, 1993) by having dorsal scales on the flanks arranged in at least slightly oblique longitudinal rows relative to the ventrolateral fold (vs. parallel longitudinal rows in other species), and differs from all species except the subgenera Abronia, Aenigmabronia, and Scopaeabronia (plus a few individuals of A. lythrochila; see Campbell and Frost, 1993) by having the lateralmost row of ventral scales unexpanded relative to the adjacent medial row (vs. expanded in other species). The new species further differs from the subgenera recognized by Campbell and Frost (1993) as follows. Unlike the subgenus Abaculabronia, the new species has a dorsum with dark, sometimes interrupted or faint crossbands in living adults (vs. dorsum with no trace of crossbands in living adults), and the supranasal scales not in contact (vs. in contact in 8/9 or 89% of specimens). Unlike the subgenus Aenigmabronia, the new species has one occipital scale (vs. two occipitals), and protuberant head shields on the posterolateral ‘‘corners’’ of the head are present (vs. absent). Unlike the subgenus Auriculabronia, the new species has protuberant or spine-like supra-auricular scales absent (vs. present). Unlike the subgenus Lissabronia, the new species has protuberant head shields on the posterolateral ‘‘corners’’ of the head present (vs. absent). Unlike the subgenus Scopaeabronia, the new species has the lower primary temporal unexpanded (vs. expanded), six longitudinal nuchal scale rows (vs. eight rows), and 30–34 transverse dorsal scale rows (vs. 38–47 rows).
Additionally within the subgenus Abronia, the new species shares with the deppii group the morphological synapomorphy of having dorsal scales on the flanks arranged in at least slightly oblique longitudinal rows relative to the ventrolateral fold. Because both the deppii group and the subgenus Abronia, unlike all other subgenera mentioned in the previous paragraph, are non-monophyletic based on the genomic analysis of Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al. (2021), we here compare the new species to each species within the subgenus Abronia. Among non-deppii-group members of this subgenus (A. fuscolabialis, A. graminea, and A. taeniata; Group III of Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al., 2021), the new species differs by having an oblique row of enlarged lateral neck scales, each over 3 times larger than adjacent scales (vs. row of enlarged scales absent, or poorly developed and not reaching nuchal scales); flanks at least partially yellow and contrasting with darker back in adult males (vs. flanks and back similar in color); and dorsal scales on the flanks arranged in slightly oblique longitudinal rows relative to the ventrolateral fold (vs. parallel longitudinal rows). Within the deppii group, the new species differs from A. deppii and A. martindelcampoi (Group I of Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al., 2021) by having the anterior superciliary scale contacting the cantholoreal scale (vs. usually not in contact), the first postorbital supralabial scale not enlarged (vs. enlarged), two primary temporal scales contacting the postocular series (vs. one), and 30–34 transverse dorsal scale rows (vs. 27–29 in A. deppii and 24– 28 in A. martindelcampoi). Within the oaxacae group nested within the deppii group (A. cuetzpali, A. mixteca, and A. oaxacae; Group V of Gutiérrez-Rodríguez et al., 2021), the new species differs by having one occipital scale (vs. two or three).” (García-Vázquez et al. 2022). 
CommentDiet: Analysis of fecal material from two Abronia zongolica indicates that the diet includes Orthoptera, Coleoptera, Lepidoptera, and Hemiptera (García-Vázquez et al. 2022).

Natural history: Abronia zongolica seems to be both arboreal and diurnal. Most individuals were found hidden behind or within bromeliads on tree trunks or branches, ranging from the root or buttress level up to 4 m in height. Individuals were also directly observed while active by day amongst the branches of trees and shrubs (García-Vázquez et al. 2022). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet zongolica refers to the Sierra de Zongolica of Veracruz, Mexico. This mountain range supports the only confirmed populations Abronia zongolica. The name ‘‘zongolica’’ appears to be derived from the words ‘‘tzoncolican’’ or ‘‘tzoncolihucan’’ in the Nahuatl language, which roughly translate as ‘‘where hair is braided’’ (García-Vázquez et al. 2022). 
References
  • García-Vázquez, Uri Omar; Adam G. Clause, Jorge Gutiérrez-Rodríguez, Erasmo Cazares-Hernández, Miguel Ángel de la Torre-Loranca 2022. A New Species of Abronia (Squamata: Anguidae) from the Sierra de Zongolica of Veracruz, Mexico. Ichthyology & Herpetology 110(1): 33-49 - get paper here
 
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