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Brachyseps punctatus (RAXWORTHY & NUSSBAUM, 1993)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymAmphiglossus punctatus RAXWORTHY & NUSSBAUM 1993: 335
Amphiglossus punctatus — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 315
Amphiglossus punctatus — SCHMITZ et al. 2005
Amphiglossus punctatus — MIRALLES et al. 2011
Brachyseps punctatus — ERENS et al. 2017 

Type locality: next to the Efarilampo River (tributary of the Itadreha River), 24°06' S, 47°20' E, 50 m altitude, Marovony Forest, 22 km north of Manantenina, Tôlanaro (Fort Dauphin) Fivondronana, Toliara (Tulear) Province, Madagascar,  
ReproductionAmphiglossus punctatus is the first member of the genus known to be ovovivparous. 
TypesHolotype: UMMZ 195749, an adult female, collected 6 December 1990 by Christopher J. Raxworthy; Paratypes: UMMZ 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A medium-sized Amphiglossus, 73 mm maximum SVL with 22 longitudinal rows of scales around the midbody (all the same size), 64-69 scales between mental scale and anal scale, 30-31 presacral vertebrae, 17-20 lamellae under the fourth toe of the hindfoot. Dorsal coloration is pale brown, with each scale marked with a single brown spot on body, limbs and tail; head longitudinally striped with stripes running down to shoulders or full length of the body; a central pair of dark brown stripes which diverge at snout tip, run back through supraocularso nto the shoulders, and may continue down the lower back;a second lateral stripe running along the upper labials, through eye and onto neck, before fading. No other species of Amphiglossus has markingslike A. punctatus. Amphiglossus melanopleura is the only other species that has similar scale counts and numbers of presacral vertebrae,but it can be separated from A. punctatus by the following characters: A. melanopleura has fewer ventrals between the mental and anal scale (56-63), fewer lamellae under the fourth toe of the hindfoot (10-16), is smaller in size (maximum SVL 52 mm), and lacks longitudinal stripes on the head (Brygoo, 1984a; Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1993: 336).

Variation. The measurements and scale characteristics of the holotype and paratypes are shown in Table 2 (in Raxworthy & Nussbaum 1993). The fore- and hindlimbs touch when apressed against the body in the newborn juveniles. Some variationin markings exists(Fig. 8). UMMZ 192701, from Ambatovaky, has the two central dark brown bands of the head fusing together at the shoulders, which continues down to the tail base, and is edged by a prominent pale dorsolateral band. The throat and belly are marked by fine dark brown spots. This pigmentation pattern may be typical for animals from the Northeast and East. UMMZ 195756, the largest individual, is unusual in that the stripes of the head are broken,and the dark spots on each scale are more irregular in shape and arrangement. The spots and stripes became more irregular with age. UMMZ 195750-2 all have very similar juvenile markings (Fig. 9), which are distinct from the adult in the following characters: the head and shoulders are boldly striped with three longitudinal pale yellow-green lines (one median and two dorsolateral)on a dark brown background;at the shoulders each pale line divides to form two thinner pale brown lines (giving six in total), which fade at the tail base; the tail dorsallyand ventrally is dark brown in the two newborn. 
EtymologyThe name describes the distinct spotted coloration of this species, in which each dorsal scale is marked by a single dark spot. 
  • Andreone F., Randrianirina J., Jenkins P.D. & Aprea G. 2000. Species diversity of Amphibia, Reptilia and Lipotyphla (Mammalia) at Ambolokopatrika, a rainforest between the Anjanaharibe-Sud and Marojejy massifs, NE Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 1587–1622 - get paper here
  • Andreone, F. & Greer, A.E. 2002. Malagasy scincid lizards: descriptions of nine new species, with notes on the morphology, reproduction and taxonomy of some previously described species (Reptilia, Squamata: Scincidae). Journal of Zoology 258, 139-181 - get paper here
  • Crottini, Angelica; Janina Dordel, Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw, Andreas Schmitz, Miguel Vences 2009. A multilocus phylogeny of Malagasy scincid lizards elucidates the relationships of the fossorial genera Androngo and Cryptoscincus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53 (1): 345-350 - get paper here
  • Erens, Jesse; Aurélien Miralles, Frank Glaw, Lars Chatrou, Miguel Vences 2016. Extended molecular phylogenetics and revised systematics of Malagasy scincine lizards. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • MIRALLES, AURÉLIEN, ACHILLE P. RASELIMANANA, DOMOINA RAKOTOMALALA, MIGUEL VENCES & DAVID R. VIEITES 2011. A new large and colorful skink of the genus Amphiglossus from Madagascar revealed by morphology and multilocus molecular study. Zootaxa 2918: 47–67 - get paper here
  • Raxworthy C J. NUSSBAUM R A. 1993. Four new species of Amphiglossus from Madagascar (Squamata: Scincidae). Herpetologica 49 (3): 326-341. - get paper here
  • Schmitz, A.; M.C. Brandley; P. Mausfeld; M. Vences; F. Glaw; R.A. Nussbaum and T.W. Reeder 2005. Opening the black box: phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the Malagasy fossorial lizards of the subfamily “Scincinae”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 118–133 (published online 2004) - get paper here
  • Whiting, A.S.; Jack W. Sites, Jr. & Aaron M. Bauer 2004. Molecular phylogenetics of Malagasy skinks (Squamata: Scincidae). African Journal of Herpetology 53(2): 135-146 - get paper here
  • Wiens, J.J.; Brandley, M.C.; Reeder, T.W. 2006. Why does a trait evolve multiple times within a clade? Repeated evolution of snakelike body form in squamate reptiles. Evolution 60 (1): 123-141. - get paper here
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