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Carlia crypta SINGHAL, HOSKIN, COUPER, POTTER & MORITZ, 2018

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymCarlia crypta SINGHAL, HOSKIN, COUPER, POTTER & MORITZ 2018 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: Mt Lewis SF, Forestry clearing (16° 35' 40" S, 145° 16' 27" E).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: QM J75457; Paratypes: QM J25141 Home Rule, near Home Rule Falls, S of Cooktown (15° 44' S, 145° 18' E); QM J25240, J25242 Mt Hedley slopes (15° 44' S, 145° 16' E); QM J25146 Home Rule, Mt Hedley Spur (15° 44' S, 145° 17' E); QM J50335 Home Rule (15° 44' S, 145° 17' E); QM J25293 Home Rule Falls, near (15° 44' S, 145° 18' E); QM J25198, J25199, J25200 Granite Ck to Cedar Bay, on track (15° 45' S, 145° 20' E); QM J25247, J25249 Mt Hartley, near Home Rule, S of Cooktown (15° 46' S, 145° 19' E); QM J17906 Shiptons Flat, Parrot Ck, 32– 48 km S Cooktown (15° 48' S, 145° 15' E); QM J17901, J24649, J24807 Shiptons Flat, via Cooktown (15° 48' S, 145° 16' E); QM J25296 12 Mile Scrub, Gap Ck (15° 48' 30" S, 145° 19' 30" E); QM J25209 Mt Finnigan NP, Horan Ck (15° 49' 10" S, 145° 16' 50" E); QM J75102, J75287 McDowall Range (16° 06' S, 145° 20' E); QM J50482 Windsor Tableland (16° 11' S, 145° 05' E); QM J64965 Windsor Tableland (16° 13' S, 144° 59' E); QM J92870 Daintree (16° 15' S,145° 19' E); QM J54459 Mt Spurgeon 16° 26' S, 145° 12' E); QM J55832 Mt Spurgeon, 2.5km S (16° 28' S, 145° 12' E); QM J51564 Mossman Bluff Track, 5–10km W Mossman (16° 28' S, 145° 17' E); QM J50465 Mossman Gorge NP (16° 28' S, 145° 20' E); QM J54353 Mossman (16° 28' S, 145° 23' E); QM J89877 Black Mountain Rd, Hockley (16° 36' 41" S, 145° 27' 09" E). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Carlia crypta sp. nov. is distinguished from all other Carlia spp., except other members of the ‘C. rubrigularis’ group, in possessing an interparietal fused to the frontoparietals. As with C. rubrigularis, adult males possess a red throat. It is reliably distinguished from this species by four nucleotide differences in the mitochondrial gene NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 that result in three amino acid differences (Table A3).

Measurements and scale counts of holotype QM J75457: SVL 47.5mm; AG 24.1 mm; L1 14.4 mm; L2 21.2 mm; HL 10 mm; HW 8.4 mm; midbody scale rows 32; paravertebral scales 44; lamellae beneath fourth toe 29; supralabials 7; infralabials 6; supraciliaries 7.

Description: SVL 43.9–54.4 mm (n = 29, mean = 48.4); AG % SVL 41–54% SVL (n = 29, mean = 48%); L1 40–51% (n = 29, mean = 45%); L2 40–51% SVL (n = 29, mean = 45%); HW 67–85% HL (n = 29, mean = 77%). Body: Robust. Head and body continuous with almost no narrowing at neck. Snout rounded in profile. Limbs well-developed, forelimb tetradactyl, hindlimb pentadactyl, broadly overlapping when adpressed. Scalation: Dorsal scales smooth (with three to four faint striations) with a broadly curved posterior edge; nasals widely spaced; rostral and frontonasal in broad contact; prefrontals large, narrowly to moderately separated; frontal contacting frontonasal, prefrontals, first two supraoculars and frontoparietal; supraoculars four, second largest; supraciliaries seven, first usually largest but sometimes subequal to fourth; lower eyelid movable with a small palpebral disc, less than or equal to half the size of lower eyelid; ear opening round with one to three enlarged, pointed lobules on anterior margin and smaller pointed lobules on other margins, larger than palpebral disc; frontoparietals and interparietal fused forming a single shield; primary temporal single, secondary temporals two (upper largest and overlapping lower); loreals two, second usually largest; preoculars two, lower largest; presuboculars one; supralabials seven, with fifth below eye and last overlapping lower secondary temporal and postsupralabials; postsupralabial divided; infralabials six, two in contact with postmental; midbody scale rows 28–34 (n = 29, mode = 32); paravertebral scales (to the level of the posterior margin of the hindlimbs) 43–47 (n = 29, mode = 44); fourth toe longest, subdigital lamellae 26–33 (n = 28, mode = 29) with a single row of scales on the dorsal surface; outer preanal scales overlap inner preanals; three pairs of enlarged chin shields, first pair in contact, second pair separated by a single scale row, third pair separated by three scale rows.

Comparison with similar species: Carlia crypta sp. nov. can only be confused with other members of the ‘C. rubrigularis’ group (C. wundalthini Hoskin, C. rubrigularis Ingram & Covacevich and C. rhomboidalis Peters). It is readily separated from both C. wundalthini and C. rhomboidalis by the coloration of adult males (throat red vs. throat pale in C. wundalthini and throat red and blue in C. rhomboidalis). It is further separated from C. wundalthini in lacking an orange flush on the neck and flanks (vs. orange flush present). In both Carlia crypta sp. nov. and C. rubrigularis, adult males possess red throats and have no breeding coloration on the flanks. These species cannot be separated by morphological characters or color pattern differences and are diagnosed by genetic data instead. Four nucleotide differences in the mitochondrial gene NADH dehydrogenase 4 lead to three amino acid differences that reliably distinguish the two species (Table A3).
Further, in most instances, these species can be distinguished in the field by their distributions. Carlia crypta occurs north of a diagonal line running from approximately Mareeba, through Lake Tinaroo, along the spine of the Lamb Range uplands, to southern Cairns, and east of a line running from southern Cairns to the mouth of the Russell River (i.e. to include Malbon Thompson Range) (Phillips et al. 2004; Dolman & Moritz 2006). The northern limit for C. crypta is the Big Tableland area near Cooktown. Carlia rubrigularis occurs south of the line defined above, with its southern extent at Pattersons Gorge at the far southern end of Paluma Range, near Townsville. The only area where these species co- occur is a narrow parapatric zone along the approximate boundary defined above. Individuals found along this contact zone (e.g., around Lake Tinaroo, the uplands of Lamb Range, Copperload Dam region, southern Cairns, Redlynch area) require genetic verification. 
CommentHabitat: Occurs in rainforest and associated moist habitats, including wet sclerophyll forest and montane heath; from sea level to the uplands, but typically absent from the highest peaks. 
EtymologyFrom the Latin for hidden, referring to its morphological similarity with C. rubrigularis. 
References
  • Singhal, Sonal; Conrad J Hoskin, Patrick Couper, Sally Potter, Craig Moritz 2018. A framework for resolving cryptic species: a case study from the lizards of the Australian Wet Tropics. Systematic Biology, syy026 - get paper here
 
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