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Australolacerta australis (HEWITT, 1926)

IUCN Red List - Australolacerta australis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Southern Rock Lizard 
SynonymLacerta australis HEWITT 1926: 423
Lacerta australis — FITZSIMONS 1943: 323
Lacerta australis — HAACKE 1982
Australolacerta australis — ARNOLD 1989
Australolacerta australis — BRANCH 1993: 77
Australolacerta australis — EDWARDS et al. 2013 
DistributionSouth Africa (Cedarberg in Cape Province)

Type locality: Matroosberg, C.P.  
TypesHolotype: SAM 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: With the transfer of Lacerta rupicola to Vhembelacerta, a re-diagnosis of Australolacerta is required. The monophyly of the monotypic genus Australolacerta is established on the basis of a suite of nuclear and mitochondrial markers (Edwards et al. 2012). Morphologically closest to Vhembelacerta, it can be distinguished from all other lacertids by the following combination of characteristics (FitzSimons 1943; Branch 1998): head moderately depressed, body feebly so; SVL 50–65mm, maximum 70mm; adpressed hindlimb reaches collar; tail cylindrical; head shields normal with upper head shields smooth, occipital region flat; snout pointed, shorter than postocular part of head; nostril pierced between the nasal and one or two postnasals, and 1st upper labial, with nasals in contact with one another behind rostral; frontoparietals paired in contact; parietals in contact with the 4th of four supraoculars and separated from the postoculars; parietal foramen absent; interparietal about twice as long as broad, in good contact with occipital; a series of 9 granules between supraoculars and supraciliaries; 4 upper labials anterior to subocular, which has a strongly-marked keel along upper border and a lower border that is much shorter than upper; elongate temporal shield posterior to the subocular, followed by 3 smaller rounded ones; temporal scales small and granular, similar to dorsal scales; ear-opening large, exposed, bordered anteriorly by an elongate tympanic shield and with no auricular denticulation; lower eyelid scaly, lacking vertically-enlarged scales in the middle; 6 lower labials and five pairs of enlarged chin-shields, 1st smallest, 4th largest, and 1st three pairs in median contact with one another; gular fold present, but not strongly marked; collar composed of 8 plates, straight, free, and even-edged; dorsal scales small, granular, smooth, similar to laterals and about 68 across midbody; ventral plates quadrangular, feebly imbricate, in 6 longitudinal and 28 transverse series; preanal plate enlarged, preceded by two smaller scales; Forelimb with small granular scales on upper surface of forearm and a series of strongly enlarged, smooth and imbricate plates along anterior surface of humerus; hindlimb with granular scales on upper surface of tibia; a series of much enlarged and vertically elongate plates run along anterior surface of thigh and on the lower surface of tibia;. 16–19 femoral pores; sub-digital lamellae smooth; scales on tail enlarged, quadrangular, elongate; more or less smooth dorsally, becoming keeled distally, and below scales smooth basally, more strongly keeled and bluntly mucronate distally.
Coloration: head and dorsum dark brown to olive, with numerous pale spots arranged in more or less regular longitudinal series that are yellow on back, white on flanks, and separated by a dorsolateral series of orange spots; upper surface head with pale green to yellow vermiculations; distinct pale vertical stripes on temporal region; indistinct pale spots on tail; venter bluish green; labials, chin-shields and throat pale greenish, with small black spots and mottling [from EDWARDS et a. 2013]. 
CommentType species: Lacerta australis Hewitt 1926 is the type species of the genus Australolacerta Arnold 1989. 
EtymologyApparently named after the Latin adjective australis = southern, referring to its range in South Africa. 
  • Anonymous 1958. A List of Zoological and Botanical Types preserved in collections in Southern and East Africa. Volume I - Zoology, Part 1. South African Museums' Association, Pretoria, i-vi, 1-147. - get paper here
  • Arnold, E. N. 1989. Towards a phylogeny and biogeography of the Lacertidae: relationships within an Old-World family of lizards derived from morphology. Bulletin of the British Museum (NATURAL HISTORY) ZOOLOGY 55 (2): 209-257 - get paper here
  • 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, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • EDWARDS, SHELLEY; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, BIEKE VANHOOYDONCK, ANTHONY HERREL, G. JOHN MEASEY, KRYSTAL A. TOLLEY 2013. Taxonomic adjustments in the systematics of the southern African lacertid lizards (Sauria: Lacertidae). Zootaxa 3669 (2): 101–114 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Haacke, W.D. 1982. Lacerta australis, Rediscovery and Report on Fresh Material. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (28): 19-21 - get paper here
  • Hewitt, J. 1926. Some new or little-known reptiles and batrachians from South Africa. Annals of the South African Museum 20: 473—490
  • Kirchhof, Sebastian & Klaus Richter 2009. Eine kaum bekannte Eidechse: die Soutpansberg-Felseidechse, Australolacerta rupicola (FITZSIMONS, 1933). Die Eidechse 20 (2): 33-40 - get paper here
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