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Brachymeles vermis TAYLOR, 1918

IUCN Red List - Brachymeles vermis - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Taylor's Shor t-legged Skink 
SynonymBrachymeles vermis TAYLOR 1918: 255
Brachymeles vermis — TAYLOR 1922
Brachymeles vermis — DAAN & HILLENIUS 1966
Brachymeles vermis — BROWN & ALCALA 1980: 29
Brachymeles vermis — SILER et al. 2009 
DistributionPhilippines (Jolo)

Type locality: Bubuan Island, Sulu Archipelago  
TypesHolotype: lost (originally BSP 1980 = Bureau of Sciences, Philippine Islands) probably destroyed fide BROWN & RABOR 1967 
DiagnosisDescription: Brown & Alcala 1980: 29

Original description (type): “Rostral about as high as wide, bending back over point of snout, visible above by more than half its height; frontonasal broader than deep, broadly in contact with the rostral, narrowly with the frontal; prefrontal wider than long, narrowly separated, touching two frenals, first superciliary, and first supra-ocular; frontal slightly longer than wide, in contact with two supra-oculars and the interparietal; the latter longer than broad, inclosed by the parietals, with a prominent eyespot, larger than frontoparietals; latter separated, touching two supra-oculars; a pair of nuchals present; parietals more than three times as long as wide; five supra-oculars, first largest, second widest, last three touching the parietal; nostril pierced between the large supranasal and first labial (if a nasal scale is present it is apparently indistinguishable); two frenals, first nearly twice as large as the second; one large preocular; only two anterior superciliaries distinguishable; six upper labials, first very large, third and fourth below the eye; a scale partially inserted between the fourth and fifth labials; mental large, extending back to the vertical of near suture between first and second upper labials; four lower labials; postmental smaller than mental, touching one labial; three pairs of chin-shields, none in contact, second pair broadest, first two separated by a single scale, third pair by three scales; temporals slightly enlarged, two touching parietal; twenty-two scale rows around body, all smooth; preanals slightly enlarged. No limbs present; a slight depression laterally on either side of the anus with two or three elongate scales. No auricular opening; scales on anterior part of snout thickened.

Color in life. Above light brown, each scale with a darker brown spot, making broken longitudinal lines; belly the same, slightly lighter. (Taylor 1918)

Variation. Specimens were obtained in four localities: Bitinan, 3 specimens; Lapac, 4; Bubuan (south island), 3; and Papahag, 4. All show variations. Bitinan specimens have twenty-four rows of scales, and two have the nuchals much elongated and only one temporal touching the parietal; Lapac specimens have twenty-six scale rows; one specimen has the parietal broken on one side; Bubuan specimens, including the type, twenty-two scale rows; Papahag specimens all have the parietal broken in two parts. The first pair is small, about the size of the prefrontals; the second posterior pair elongate, forming the normal suture; they have twenty-two to twenty-four scale rows about the body. (Taylor 1918) 
CommentLimb morphology: Limbless species.

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. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Latin vermis (worm). 
  • Brown, W.C. & E.L. Alcala 1995. A new species of Brachymeles (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Catanduanes Island, Philippines [B. minimus]. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 108 (3): 392-394. - 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.
  • Daan, S. & Hillenius,D. 1966. Catalogue of the type specimens of amphibians and reptiles in the Zoological Museum, Amsterdam. Beaufortia 13: 117-144
  • Siler, C. D.; D.S. Balete; A. C. Diesmos and R. M. Brown 2010. A New Legless Loam-swimming Lizard (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae: Genus Brachymeles) from the Bicol Peninsula, Luzon Island, Philippines. Copeia 2010 (1): 114–122 - 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
  • Taylor, E.H. 1922. The lizards of the Philippine Islands. Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Bureau of Science, Government of the Philippine Islands, Manila, Publication no. 17: 269 pp. - get paper here
  • Taylor, Edward H. 1918. Reptiles of Sulu Archipelago. Philippine Journal of Science 13 (5d): 233-267 - get paper here
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