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 Taxa||Scincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||E: Lubang Slender Skink|
|Synonym||Brachymeles 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
|Distribution||Philippines (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
|Types||Holotype: 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.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. 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.
|Comment||HABITAT: 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).
|Etymology||The 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.|
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