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Carlia fusca (DUMÉRIL & BIBRON, 1839)

IUCN Red List - Carlia fusca - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Indonesian Brown Skink Carlia 
SynonymHeteropus fuscus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 742
Heteropus leucotaenia BLEEKER 1860 (fide BOULENGER 1887)
Heteropus tricarinatus MEYER 1874: 8 (fide ZUG 2004)
Heteropus tricarinatus var. striata MEYER 1874 (nomen dubium fide ZUG 2004)
Heteropus fuscus — GÜNTHER 1877: 414
Lygosoma fuscum — BOULENGER 1895: 30
Lygosoma fuscum — GARMAN 1901: 7
Lygosoma (Liolepisma) fuscum — STERNFELD 1918: 403
Leiolopisma fuscum — DUNN 1927
Leiolopisma fusca — BURT & BURT 1932
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) fuscum — SMITH 1937: 225
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) fuscum fuscum — BRONGERSMA 1948: 490
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) fuscum jamnanum LOVERIDGE 1948: 363
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) fuscum fuscum — TANNER 1950
Leiolopisma fuscum — WILHOFT 1961
Carlia fuscum — DRYDEN & TAYLOR 1969
Carlia fusca — MYS 1988: 129
Carlia fusca — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995
Carlia fusca — DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008 
DistributionAdmirality Islands, Indonesia (Kai = Kei) Islands, Halmahera, Morotai), Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea (Irian Jaya), Waigeo. For detailed localities see Mys 1988.

Type locality: Waigeo and Rawack islands; restricted to Waigeo by ZUG (2004: 39).  
TypesLectotype: MNHN-RA 3036, designated by Guibé (1954) by presumption of Holotype (see Brygoo 1985, Zug 2004)
Holotype: MCZ 7677 [jamnanum] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): limbs well-developed with manus reduced to four digits; lower eyelid with a transparent palpebral disc; supranasal scales absent; rostral–frontonasal suture as wide as, or wider than the frontal; frontoparietal scales fused; interparietal small and distinct; ear-opening with enlarged lobules; dorsal body scales strongly keeled; males with conspicuous breeding colours on flanks (Ingram & Covacevich 1989; Cogger 2000; Dolman and Hugall 2008; Wilson and Swan 2008) [fom HOSKIN & COUPER 2012; this may be a partial diagnosis, not including all species].

Definition (Carlia): The clade comprising Carlia munda de Vis, 1845 Gray, 1838, and all species that share a more recent common ancestor with Carlia munda than with Lygisaurus foliorum or Liburnascincus coensis (DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008).

Description (Carlia): A genus of the Carlia group of skinks, maximum adult SVL ranging from 41 to 70 mm; body and head stout, robust, limbs very well developed; usually 7 supralabials; dorsal body scales weakly to strongly keeled; breeding males mostly with bright colours, including red, blue, green and black, often combined with another contrasting pigment; females without bright colours but mostly with a white mid-lateral stripe from axilla to groin, usually 13 premaxillary teeth (Ingram and Covacevich, 1989, DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008).

Definition (Carlia): “Carlia is a group III lygosomine skink with a beta palate, 11 or 13 premaxillary teeth, and fore and hind digits covered dorsally by a single row of scales (Greer, 1974). It shares a unique hemipenial morphology of an elongate projection from the base of the everted hemipenis with Lampropholis, Lygisaurus, and Saproscincus (Greer, 1989). Within this 4 taxa group, Carlia and Lygisaurus share a four-digit forefoot (loss of digit I) and a single (fused) frontoparietal scale. Carlia differs from Lygisaurus by hindlimb length subequal to or greater than trunk length (HndlL/TrunkL > 90%) and longer digits (4ToeL/TrunkL > 28%).” (Zug 2004: 41)

Description. “A moderate-sized Carlia ranging in adult size from 49 to 60 mm SVL (females 49.1–56.9; males 48.8–59.5) with HeadL 21–25%, TrunkL 38–53%, and HndlL 40–55% of SVL, and 78–123% PalpbD of EarD. Some populations sexually dimorphic in one or more of the following traits: SVL, HeadL, PalpbD, EarD, TrunkL, HndlL, HeadL/SVL, TrunkL/SVL, HndlL/SVL, and TrunkL/HndlL. Head and nuchal scales smooth; interparietal always present; 4 Supoc, 6–9 Supcil, 7–12 Eyeld, 7 Suplab, 5th (rarely 6th) BlwEye, and 6 (rarely 7) Inflab on each side. Ear opening oblong vertical to oblique with 1–5 AuricN, usually bluntly pointed, on anterior and dorsal margin. Trunk scales smooth to weakly tricarinate dorsally and laterally: 45–51 Dorsal, 30–36 Midbody. Subdigital lamellae undivided, smooth: 18–23 3FingL, 24–32 4ToeL.
Juvenile dorsum uniform brown to brown with scattered white spots or dark flecks or lines, distinct dorsolateral white stripe from eye to midtrunk, midlateral white stripe variously developed and dark brown lateral band on neck to at least midtrunk; venter cream to ivory. Adults monomorphic (Fig. 12), from uniform brown dorsum and sides to those with remnant of dorsolateral white stripe on side of head and neck, lateral brown band variously faded, midlateral stripe absent; venter cream to ivory. (Zug 2004: 42)

Variation. All larger samples (#1, 3, 6) display sexual dimorphism in several morphometric characters, and Waigeo and Toem show significant differences between female and male SVLs (means: 52.7 & 56.3 mm, 50.7 & 53.8 mm, respectively), but there is no dimorphism in coloration. For both mensural and meristic traits, the intrasample variation of larger samples equals or nearly equals the variation among samples. Mean SVL ranges from 49.6 to 52.7 mm, females, and 51.7 to 56.3 mm, males. Supcil, Suplab, Inflab, Eyeld, and AuricN have little variation between and within samples (medians: 8, 7, 6–6.5, 8–9.5, & 3–4, respectively), and Interp is invariably present. Dorsal, Midbody, 3FingL, and 4ToeL also show little intersample variation (medians: 48–49, 32–35, 20–21.5, & 27–30, respectively). (Zug 2004: 43)

Comparisons. Carlia fusca populations differ from those of the larger bodied C. pulla, C. luctuosa, and C. beccarii, and the smaller bodied C. aramia, C. babarensis, C. leucotaenia, and C. tutela by adult females averaging 50 to 53 mm SVL; females and males are on the average equal-sized. C. fusca populations share: an average of 32 to 34 Midbody with all other fusca complex species except C. luctuosa; an average of 20 to 22 3FingL with all except C. beccarii; and an average of 27 to 30 4ToeL with all except C. beccarii C. longipes, and C. luctuosa. Unlike juvenile C. aenigma, C. ailanpalai, C. aramia, C. babarensis, C. beccarii, C. eothen, C. leucotaenia, C. longipes, C. pulla, C. tutela, juvenile C. fusca have a short dorsolateral light stripe from eye to mid-neck, occasionally to anterior trunk; and unlike C. aenigma, C. ailanpalai, C. aramia, C. babarensis, C. beccarii, C. diguliensis, C. eothen, C. leucotaenia, C. longipes, C. luctuosa, C. mysi, C. pulla, C. tutela, the midlateral light stripe of juvenile C. fusca is present only occasionally on the neck and rarely from eye to anterior trunk. Adult C. fusca females commonly retain the dorsolateral stripe on head and neck but lose the midlateral stripe, sharing this adult female coloration with some populations of C. eothen, C. leucotaenia C. longipes, and C. mysi. Adult C. fusca have light chins, throats, and venters, differing from the dark underside of C. aenigma, C. luctuosa, and some populations of C. aramia and C. eothen.” (Zug 2004: 43) 
CommentSynonymy: Listed as Carlia beccarii by COLIJN’s web site on Indonesia. Carlia beccarii has been removed from the synonymy of Carlia fusca by ZUG (2004: 40). Synonymy partly after ZUG 2004. Heteropus luctuosus PETERS & DORIA 1878: 364 has been removed from the synonymy of C. fusca and is now considered as a valid species.

Type species: Heteropus fuscus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839 is the type species of the genus Carlia GRAY 1845: 271 (FITZINGER 1843; ZUG 2004). Mocoa melanopogon is the type species of the genus Carlia GRAY 1845 (fide GREER 1974).

Phylogeny: Bragg et al. 2018 presented a phylogeny of the genera Lygisaurus, Liburnascincus, and Carlia.

Distribution: not listed for the Solomon Islands (Bougainville Island) by McCoy 2015 although it was listed by McCoy 2000. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin word “fuscus” = tawny or dusky. 
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  • Boulenger, G. A. 1895. On a collection of reptiles and batrachians from Ferguson Island, D'Entrecasteaux group British New Guinea. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6) 16: 28-32 - get paper here
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  • Dolman, Gaynor & Andrew F. Hugall 2008. Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3): 782-794 - get paper here
  • Dryden, G.L. & TAYLOR, E.H. 1969. Reptiles from the Mariana and Caroline Islands. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 48 (8): 269-279 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
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  • Günther, A. 1877. Descriptions of three new species of lizards from Islands of Torres Straits. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 19: 413—415 - get paper here
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  • Meyer, A.B. 1874. Eine Mittheilung von Hern. Dr. Adolf Berhard Meyer über die von ihm auf Neu-Guinea und den Inseln Jobi, Mysore und Mafoor im Jahre 1873 gesammelten Amphibien. Monatsber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1874: 128-140 [also published as a separate print with pages 1-17 with a different title in which “Hern. Dr. Adolf Berhard Meyer über die von ihm” is replaced by “mir”] - get paper here
  • Mys, Benoit 1988. The zoogeography of the scincid lizards from North Papua New Guinea (Reptilia: Scincidae). I. The distribution of the species. Bull. Inst. Roy. Sci. Nat. Belgique (Biologie) 58: 127-183
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