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Anomalopus swansoni GREER & COGGER, 1985

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Punctate Worm-skink 
SynonymAnomalopus (Vermiseps) swansoni GREER & COGGER 1985: 23
Lygosoma swansoni
Anomalopus swansoni — COGGER 2000: 385
Anomalopus swansoni — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales)

Type locality: Raymond Terrace area, Newcastle, NSW  
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R67162, collected by R. Wells & R. Cook, 2.xii.1973. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Differs from all other Anomalopus in the following combination of characters: limbs totally lacking; supraciliary row complete; loreals 2.
Description. A medium-sized, limbless skink with predominantly light to dark dorsal ground colour but with slight aggregations of pigment in the centre of each dorsal scale giving a punctate or striped pattern.
Rostral trilobed with blunt, round. medial lobe projecting partially or completely between nasals to level just posterior to nostril and 2 lateral lobes projecting to same level; frontonasal wider than long (1.6-2.3 x); prefrontals moderate in size, widely separated; frontal slightly wider than long (1.1-1.3 x) supraoculars usually 3, rarely 2, only first in contact with frontal; frontoparietals distinct, in contact, each shorter than interparietal; interparietal distinct with dark parietal eye evident at base of posterior lobe; parietals meet behind interparietal, each bordered posterolaterally by large, upper secondary temporal, nuchal and 2 scales intercalated between; nuchals undifferentiated (i.e., not enlarged).
Nasals greatly enlarged, usually narrowly separated but rarely in contact; nostril situated slightly below and well forward of centre; loreals 2, anterior larger; preoculars 2; supraciliaries 4, in continuous series, first separated from frontal, third interdigitates between second and third supraoculars when these scales distinct; suboculars 4, large, in continuous series and interdigitating with supralabials; lower eyelid movable and scaly; pretemporals 2, first usually not contacted by frontoparietal (86.5070, N = 89) but occasionally so (13.5%); primary temporal single; secondary temporals 2, upper overlaps lower; external ear opening completely covered by scaly epidermis, its former position indicated by shallow vertical depression; supralabials 6, first by far largest, fourth smallest and generally situated below centre of eye, although occasionally suture between third and fourth supralabials subocular; postsupralabial single; infralabials 6, first 2 in contact with postmental; mental large, wider than long (1.4-1.5 x); postmental very much wider than long; 3 pairs of enlarged chin scales, first pair usually slightly separated by 1 scale, second pair well separated by 1 scale and third pair by 3 scales.
Body scales smooth, in 22-26 longitudinal rows at midbody; paravertebral scales same size as more lateral scales, 115-138 in a single row; inner preanals overlap outer, medial pair of preanals enlarged; medial row of subcaudals same size as more lateral rows.
Snout-vent length 44-107 mm; tail bluntly rounded 0.64-0.84 x SVL; limbs totally lacking (GREER & COGGER 1985: 23).

Colour. In both life and preservative generally light- brown to dark, greyish brown above and immaculate below; dark pigment tends to concentrate in centres of dorsal scales thereby creating a very diffuse spotted or striped effect; tip of tail black (see Cogger, 1983, fig. 137 for colour photograph of live specimen) (GREER & COGGER 1985: 23). 
CommentLimb morphology: 0 digits 0 toes (Limbless, Singhal et al. 2018, Brandley et al 2008) 
EtymologyNamed after Stephen Swanson, a herpetologist who wrote Lizards of Australia (1987). 
  • Annable, T. 1995. Observations on the biology of the punctate worm-skink Anomalopus (Vermiseps) swansoni Greer and Cogger, 1985 (Sauria: Scincidae). Herpetofauna (Sydney) 25 (2): 45-49
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Greer A E; Cogger H G 1985. Systematics of the reduce-limbed and limbless skinks currently assigned to the genus Anomalopus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 37(1) 1985: 11-54 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson, M. N., Couper, P., Amey, A., & Wilmer, J. W. 2021. Diversity and Systematics of Limbless Skinks (Anomalopus) from Eastern Australia and the Skeletal Changes that Accompany the Substrate Swimming Body Form. Journal of Herpetology 55 (4): 361-384 - get paper here
  • Reeder, T.W. 2003. A phylogeny of the Australian Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relatio Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 384–397 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M; Sadlier, Ross A 1999. A catalogue of the non-fossil amphibian and reptile type specimens in the collection of the Australian Museum: types currently, previously and purportedly present. TECHNICAL REPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM 15, 1999: 1-91 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael S.Y. Lee 2013. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Australian Sphenomorphus Group Skinks (Scincidae, Squamata). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 906–918 - get paper here
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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