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Brachymeles gracilis (FISCHER, 1885)

IUCN Red List - Brachymeles gracilis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Sauria (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesGraceful Short-legged Skink 
SynonymEumeces (Riopa) gracilis FISCHER 1885: 85
Brachymeles gracilis — BETTGER 1886: 103
Brachymeles gracilis gracilis — BROWN & RABOR 1967: 536
Brachymeles gracilis — BROWN & ALCALA 1980: 36
Brachymeles gracilis — SILER et al. 2009 
DistributionPhilippine Islands (Mindanao)

Type locality: Mindanao Island.

hilong: Philippine Islands (NE Mindanao); Type locality: Diuata Mountains in the extreme northeastern part of Mindanao Island  
TypesHolotype: Dresden; probably not extant [BROWN & RABOR 1967]
Holotype: CAS-SUR 24407 (hilong) 
CommentSynonymy: after SILER et al. 2012. Brachymeles suluensis TAYLOR 1918 has been removed from the synonymy of B. gracilis by SILER et al. 2012.

Pentadactyl species.

Subspecies: all former subspecies (including hilong, mindorensis, boholensis, taylori) have been elevated to full species.

Distribution: see map in SILER et al. 2012.

Habitat: semifossorial and typically found in dry, rotting material inside or underneath decaying logs or in loose soil, forest floor detritus, and leaf litter of lowland forest.

Diagnosis.—Brachymeles gracilis can be distinguished from congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) body size medium (SVL 58.6–83.4 mm); (2) limbs pentadactyl; (3) limb length moderate; (4) relative tail length long; (5) Finger-III lamel- lae four or five; (6) Toe-IV lamellae seven or eight; (7) supralabials six; (8) infralabials six or seven; (9) supraciliaries six; (10) supraoculars five; (11) midbody scale rows 24–27; (12) axilla–groin scale rows 46–49; (13) paraver- tebral scale rows 67–70; (14) supranasals separate; (15) parietals in contact; (16) post- nasal/supranasal fusion present or absent; (17) enlarged chin shields in two pairs; (18) nuchal scales undifferentiated; (19) fourth and fifth supralabial below eye; (20) auricular opening present; and (21) presacral vertebrae 34 (Tables 3, 4 in SILER et al. 2012).

Comparisons.—Characters distinguishing B. gracilis from all medium-sized, pentadactyl species of Brachymeles are summarized in Tables 3 and 4. Brachymeles gracilis most closely resembles B. vulcani, B. tiboliorum, and B. suluensis. However, B. gracilis differs from these three taxa by having seven or eight Toe-IV lamellae (vs. eight or nine [B. vulcani], six [B. tiboliorum], eight [B. suluensis]), a greater number of presacral vertebrae (34 vs. 31 [B. suluensis], 32 [B. vulcani], 33 [B. tiboliorum]), six or seven infralabials (vs. six), and the presence or absence of a fused postnasal/supranasal scale (vs. absence; Fig. 4). Brachymeles gracilis further differs from B. vulcani and B. suluensis by having four or five Finger-III lamellae (vs. five); from B. vulcani and B. tiboliorum by having a tendency toward a longer relative tail length (TL/SVL up to 102% vs. , 90%); from B. tiboliorum and B. suluensis by having enlarged chin shields in two pairs (vs. 3); and from B. suluensis by the presence of contact between parietal scales (vs. presence or absence). Brachymeles gracilis can be distinguished from all limbless species of Brachymeles (B. apus, B. lukbani, B. minimus, B. miriamae, B. vermis) by having limbs; and from all non- pentadactyl species of Brachymeles (B. bico- landia, B. bonitae, B. brevidactylus, B. ce- buensis, B. cobos, B. elerae, B. libayani, B. muntingkamay, B. paeforum, B. pathfinderi, B. samarensis, B. tridactylus, B. wrighti) by having pentadactyl (vs. nonpentadactyl) limbs [SILER et al. 2012]. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “gracilis”, meaning small or lanky, or gracile. 
References
  • Alcala, Angel C.;Reyes, Alfredo Y. 1957. Notes on the habitat of the scincoid lizard, Brachymeles gracilis taylori Brown. Copeia 1957 (2): 144 - get paper here
  • Brown WC & RABOR DS 1967. Review of the genus Brachymeles (Sauria), with descriptions of new species and subspecies. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 34: 525-548 - get paper here
  • Brown, Walter C. 1956. A revision of the genus Brachymeles (Scincidae), with descriptions of new species and subspecies. Breviora (54): 1-19 - get paper here
  • Brown, WC. & A.C. ALCALA 1980. Philippine Lizards of the family Scincidae. Silliman Univ. Nat. Sci., Dumaguete City, Mon., Ser. 2: i-xi + 1-246.
  • Fischer, J. G. 1885. Ichthyologische und herpetologische Bemerkungen. V. Herpetologische Bemerkungen. Jahrb. Hamburg. Wiss. Anst. 2: 82-121 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Rafe M. Brown 2010. New Loam-Swimming Skink, Genus Brachymeles (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) from Luzon and Catanduanes Islands, Philippines. Journal of Herpetology 44 (1): 49–60 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Angel C. Alcala and Rafe M. Brown 2011. Phylogeny of Philippine slender skinks (Scincidae: Brachymeles) reveals underestimated species diversity, complex biogeographical relationships, and cryptic patterns of lineage diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59 (1): 53-65 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Edmond L. Rico, Mariano R. Duya, and Rafe M. Brown 2009. A NEW LIMB-REDUCED, LOAM-SWIMMING SKINK (SQUAMATA: SCINCIDAE: BRACHYMELES) FROM CENTRAL LUZON ISLAND, PHILIPPINES. Herpetologica 65 (4): 449 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Robin M. Jones, Arvin C. Diesmos, Mae L. Diesmos, and Rafe M. Brown 2012. Phylogeny-Based Species Delimitation In Philippine Slender Skinks (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) III: Taxonomic Revision of the Brachymeles Gracilis Complex, With Descriptions of Three New Species. Herpetological Monographs 26 (1): 135-172. - get paper here
 
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