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Brachymeles ligtas GEHEBER, DAVIS, WATTERS, PENROD, FELLER, DAVEY, ELLSWORTH, FLANAGAN, HEITZ, MOORE, NGUYEN, ROBERTS, SUTTON, SANGUILA, LINKEM, BROWN & SILER, 2016

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Lubang Slender Skink 
SynonymBrachymeles ligtas GEHEBER, DAVIS, WATTERS, PENROD, FELLER, DAVEY, ELLSWORTH, FLANAGAN, HEITZ, MOORE, NGUYEN, ROBERTS, SUTTON, SANGUILA, LINKEM, BROWN & SILER 2016
Brachymeles bonitae — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839
Brachymeles bonitae — TAYLOR 1917
Brachymeles bonitae — BROWN 1956:5
Brachymeles bonitae — BROWN & RABOR 1967:526
Brachymeles bonitae — BROWN & ALCALA 1970
Brachymeles bonitae — BROWN & ALCALA 1980:20
Brachymeles bonitae — DAVIS et al. 2014 
DistributionPhilippines (Occidental Mindoro Province: Lubang Island)

Type locality: Sitio Dangay, Barangay Vigo, Municipality of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro Province, Lubang Island, Philippines (13.79995° N, 120.163930° E; WGS 84; 45 m elev. elevation  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: PNM 9818 (CDS Field No. 3886, formerly KU 320472), adult female, collected on 26 April 2009 (14:00 h) by J. Fernandez and CDS.
Paratypes (Paratopotypes). Four paratopotypes were also collected in Sitio Dangay, Barangay Vigo, Municipality of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro Province, Lubang Island, Philippines (13.79995° N, 120.163930° E; WGS 84; 45 m elev.), by J. Fernandez and CDS. One adult male (KU 320470) was collected on 24 April 2009 at 14:00 h, two adult females (KU 320471, 320473) were collected on 26 April 2009 at 14:00 h, and one juvenile (KU 320474) was collected on 29 April 2009 at 14:00 h.
Paratypes. One adult male (KU 307755) was collected on 8 December 2005 in Barangay Vigo, Municipality of Lubang, Occidental Mindoro Province, Lubang Island, Philippines (13.826552° N, 120.120514° E; WGS 84; 27 m elev.), by RMB, CDS, and CWL. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Following recent taxonomic revisions of Brachymeles (Siler et al. 2011; Davis et al. 2014) the new species is assigned to the B. bonitae Complex based on the following suite of morphological characters: (1) limbs present, (2) non-pentadactyl, (3) fore-limbs with 0–3 fingers, (4) hind limbs with 0–2 toes, (5) paravertebral scale rows ≥ 91, (6) presacral vertebrae 47–53, (7) supraoculars four, (8) enlarged, differentiated nuchals present, (9) longitudinal rows of dark spots around the body absent, and (10) auricular opening absent.
Brachymeles ligtas sp. nov. can be distinguished from congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) body size small (SVL 60.7–79.6 mm), (2) fore-limbs bidactyl, (3) hind limbs digitless, (4) limb length short, (5) supralabials six, (6) infralabials six, (7) supraciliaries five, (8) supraoculars four, (9) midbody scale rows 22, (10) axilla–groin scale rows 74–76, (11) paravertebral scale rows 91–93, (12) prefrontal contact absent, (13) frontoparietal contact present, (14) enlarged chin shields in three pairs, (15) nuchals enlarged, (16) auricular opening absent, (17) presacral vertebrae 50, and (18) uniform body color (Tables 1, 2).

Comparisons. Brachymeles ligtas sp. nov. can be distinguished from other species in the B. bonitae Complex (B. bonitae, B. isangdaliri, B. mapalanggaon, B. tridactylus), by the number of presacral vertebrae (50 versus 53 [B. bonitae], 51 [B. mapalanggaon], 47 [B. isangdaliri, B. tridactylus]), and by having bidactyl fore-limbs and digitless hind limbs (versus bidactyl fore-limbs and unidactyl hind limbs [B. bonitae], digitless [B. bonitae, B. mapalanggaon], unidactyl [B. isangdaliri], or tridactyl [B. tridactylus]; Table 2); further, from B. bonitae by having a greater number of infralabials (6 versus 5) and absence (versus presence) of a fused mental and first chin shield; from B. isangdaliri by having fewer supraciliaries (5 versus 6) and the presence (versus absence) of a third chin shield pair; from B. mapalanggaon by having a longer fore-limb length (1.2–1.4 mm versus 0.8–1.0) and a longer hind limb length (1.6–2.0 mm versus 1.2–1.6); from B. tridactylus by having a shorter fore-limb length (1.2–1.4 mm versus 1.5–2.5); from B. isangdaliri and B. tridactylus by having a greater number of presacral vertebrae (50 versus 47 [B. isangdaliri, B. tridactylus]) and a shorter hind limb length (1.6–2.0 mm versus 2.2 [B. isangdaliri] or 2.6–3.6 [B. tridactylus]); from B. bonitae and B. mapalanggaon by having fewer presacral vertebrae (50 versus 53 [B. bonitae] or 51 [B. mapalanggaon]), fewer axilla–groin scale rows (74–76 versus 83–90 [B. bonitae] or 80–84 [B. mapalanggaon]); from B. bonitae, B. isangdaliri, and B. mapalanggaon by having fewer paravertebral scale rows (91–93 versus 103–110 [B. bonitae], 97 [B. isangdaliri], or 99–102 [B. mapalanggaon]); from B. bonitae, B. isangdaliri, and B. tridactylus by the presence of frontoparietals in contact (versus not in contact). Finally, Brachymeles ligtas sp. nov. can be distinguished from all limbless species of Brachymeles by having limbs, and from all pentadactyl species of Brachymeles by having bidactyl fore-limbs and digitless hind limbs. 
CommentHABITAT: Brachymeles ligtas sp. nov. likely once occurred in low- to mid-elevation primary forest habitats. As most primary forest on Lubang Island has been destroyed, the recent observations of this species have occurred in secondary growth forest habitats. In contrast to the other members of the B. bonitae Complex, this species appears to be relatively common in secondary growth forest fragments on the island. To date, no other congeners have been documented on Lubang Island (GEHEBER et al. 2016).

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Tagalog (Filipino) term "nakaligtas," meaning "survivor" and "ligtas," meaning "salvation." We name this species in honor of the people of Lubang Island who endured nearly three decades of violence and guerrilla warfare, from 1945 to 1974, led by the Imperial Japanese Army intelligence officer Hiroo Onoda, and four Japanese soldiers. After being driven into the jungle of Lubang Island by allied forces near the end of World War II, Onoda resisted surrender for 29 years believing the war was not yet over. Onoda would finally surrender in 1974, allowing the communities of Lubang to move on from the hardships faced during this time period, including the loss of over 30 lives and injuries to dozens more. 
References
  • 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, Walter C.; Alcala, Angel C. 1970. The zoogeography of the herpetofauna of the Philippine Islands, a fringing archipelago. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 38 (6): 105-130 - 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.
  • DAVIS, DREW R.; AARON D. GEHEBER, JESSA L. WATTERS, MICHELLE L. PENROD, KATHRYN D. FELLER, ALISSA ASHFORD, JOSH KOURI, DANIEL NGUYEN, KATHRYN SHAUBERGER, KYRA SHEATSLEY, CLAIRE WINFREY, RACHEL WONG, MARITES B. SANGUILA, RAFE M. BROWN & CAMERON D. SIL 2016. Additions to Philippine Slender Skinks of the Brachymeles bonitae Complex (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) III: a new species from Tablas Island. Zootaxa 4132 (1): 030–043 - get paper here
  • Davis, Drew R.; Kathryn D. Feller, Rafe M. Brown, and Cameron D. Siler 2014. Evaluating the Diversity of Philippine Slender Skinks of the Brachymeles bonitae Complex (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae): Redescription of B. tridactylus and Descriptions of Two New Species. Journal of Herpetology Dec 2014, Vol. 48, No. 4: 480-494. - get paper here
  • GEHEBER, AARON D.; DREW R. DAVIS, JESSA L. WATTERS, MICHELLE L. PENROD, KATHRYN D. FELLER, CONNER S. DAVEY, ELYSE D. ELLSWORTH, RACHEL L. FLANAGAN, BRENDAN B. HEITZ, TANA MOORE, MARIE D. C. NGUYEN, AUSTYN ROBERTS, JOHN SUTTON, MARITES B. SANGUILA, CH 2016. Additions to Philippine Slender Skinks of the Brachymeles bonitae Complex (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) I: a new species from Lubang Island. Zootaxa 4132 (1): 001–014 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Taylor,E.H. 1917. Brachymeles, a genus of Philippine lizards. Philippine Journal of Science 12: 267-279 - get paper here
 
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