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Acontias meleagris (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontinae; Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesCape Legless Skink, Golden Sand Skink; Spotted Slow Skink; Thick-tailed Blindworm, Erdslang, Linnaeus' Lance Skink 
SynonymAnguis Meleagris LINNAEUS 1758: 227
Acontias meleagris — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 802
Acontias meleagris — LOVERIDGE 1923
Acontias meleagris meleagris — FITZSIMONS 1943: 242
Acontias meleagris — GREER 2001
Acontias meleagris — LAMB et al. 2010 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (along the xeric western and eastern Cape coast of South Africa)

Type locality: “Indiis” (fide LINNAEUS 1758; in error)  
TypesHolotype: unlocated but Fitzsimons 1943: 244 suspected MNHN 
CommentMorphology: Limbless.

Type species: A. meleagris is the type species of the genus Acontias CUVIER 1817 (DANIELS et al. 2006, LAMB et al. 2010).

Synonymy: based on DNA sequence data, DANIELS et al. (2005) suggest that both A. m. orientalis and A. p. tasmani are invalid taxonomic designations, and should be regarded as junior synonyms of A. m. meleagris. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Branch, W. R. 1998. Field Guide to the Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. 3rd ed. Fully Revised and Updated to Include 83 New Species. Ralph Curtis Books (Sanibel Island, Florida), 399 pp.
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, D. G. and Greer, A. E. 1969. A revision of the genus Acontias Cuvier (Sauria: Scincidae). Arnoldia Rhodesia 4 (26): 1-29.
  • Camp, Charles Lewis 1923. Classification of the Lizards. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 48 (11): 289-481.
  • Daniels, S. R., N. Heideman, M. Hendricks, and B. Willson. 2002. A molecular phylogeny for the South African limbless lizard taxa of the subfamily Acontinae (Sauria: Scincidae) with special emphasis on relationships within Acontias. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 24: 315-323 - get paper here
  • Daniels, S. R.,Heideman, N. J. L. & Hendricks, M. G. J. 2009. Examination of evolutionary relationships in the Cape fossorial skink species complex (Acontinae: Acontias meleagris meleagris) reveals the presence of five cryptic lineages. Zoologica Scripta 38 (5): 449–463
  • Daniels, S.R.; Neil J.L. Heideman, Martin G.J. Hendricks, Mphalile E. Mokone, Keith A. Crandall 2005. Unraveling evolutionary lineages in the limbless fossorial skink genus Acontias (Sauria: Scincidae): are subspecies equivalent systematic units? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 645–654 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol.5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Falk and Reed 2015. Challenges to a molecular approach to prey identification in the Burmese python, Python molurus bivittatus. PeerJ 3:e1445; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1445 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Greer, Allen E. 2001. Distribution of maximum snout-vent length among species of Scincid lizards. Journal of Herpetology 35 (3): 383-395 - get paper here
  • Haagner, G. V. and Morgan, D. R. 1982. Acontias meleagris. Cape legless lizard. Reproduction. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 41:41 - get paper here
  • Heideman, N.J.L. et al. 2008. Sexual dimorphism in the African legless skink subfamily Acontiinae (Reptilia: Scincidae). African Zoology 43 (2): 192–201 - get paper here
  • Hewitt, J. 1938. Description of new forms of the genus Acontias. Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Africa 26: 39-48
  • Lamb, T.; Biswas, S. & Bauer, A.M. 2010. A phylogenetic reassessment of African fossorial skinks in the subfamily Acontinae (Squamata: Scincidae): evidence for parallelism and polyphyly. Zootaxa 2657: 33–46 - get paper here
  • Leonard, C. J. 1989. Locomotion of the Limbless Skink Acontias meleagris. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (36): 73-73 - get paper here
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1923. Notes on East African lizards collected 1920-1923 with the description of two new races of Agama lionotus Blgr. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1923: 935-969 - get paper here
  • Mirza, Zeeshan A. & Rajesh Sanap 2010. New locality record of Hemidactylus gracilis Blanford, 1870 (Squamata: Sauria: Gekkonidae) from Nashik District, Maharashtra. Reptile Rap (10): 2-3 - get paper here
  • Wagner, Philipp; Donald G. Broadley, and Aaron M. Bauer 2012. A New Acontine Skink from Zambia (Scincidae: Acontias Cuvier, 1817). Journal of Herpetology 46 (4): 494-502. - get paper here
  • Werner,F. 1910. Reptilia et Amphibia. In Schultze, L., Zoologische und anthropologische Ergebnisse einer Forschungsreise im westlichen und zentralen Südafrika. Band IV, Systematik und Tiergeographie Vertebrata B. Denkschr. Med.-Nat. Wiss. GeselI. Jena 16: 279-370 [1910] - get paper here
  • Wilson, B. A., M.G.J. Hendriks, N.J.L. Heideman, M. F. Bates, N. Don and C. Moses. 1998. Geographic Distribution. Acontias meleagris meleagris. African Herp News (27): 20-21.
  • WITBERG, M. 2012. The herpetofauna of Schaapen Island, Langebaan, South Africa. African Herp News (56): 11-16
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