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Carlia rubrigularis INGRAM & COVACEVICH, 1989

IUCN Red List - Carlia rubrigularis - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesRed-throated Rainbow-skink, Northern Red-throated Skink 
SynonymCarlia rubrigularis INGRAM & COVACEVICH 1989: 473
Carlia rubrigularis — COGGER 2000: 398
Carlia rubrigularis — DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008
Carlia rubrigularis — LIVIGNI 2013: 264 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: Innisfail, NE Queensland (17°32'S, 146o01'E)  
TypesHolotype: QM J29956, collected by D.C. Wilhoft in 1960; Paratypes: AMS (AM) 
DiagnosisCarlia rubrigularis and C. rhomboidalis can be distinguished from all other Carlia in having the interparietal scale fused with the frontoparietal (Ingram & Covacevich 1989; Hoskin & Couper 2012). Carlia rubrigularis was split from C. rhomboidalis in 1989 on the basis of colouration, particularly of breeding males (Ingram & Covacevich 1989). In C. rhomboidalis the labials and underside of the head are blue and the throat is red (Fig. 1A), whereas in C. rubrigularis the entire lower surfaces of the head (termed here the ‘chin’) and throat are red (Fig. 1B). This colour difference in breeding males was deemed probably sufficient to confer breeding isolation should the species come into contact (Ingram & Covacevich 1989). Indeed, lab-tests of female choice have detected prezygotic isolation between these two species (Dolman 2008). Ingram & Covacevich (1989) concluded that the two species were morphologically indistinguishable other than for chin colour; however, Dolman (2008) also found subtle differences in relative limb length and head width (Hoskin 2014).

Diagnosis: Carlia rubrigularis is distinguished from all other Carlia spp., except members of the ‘C. rhomboidalis’ group, in possessing an interparietal fused to the frontoparietals. As with C. crypta sp. nov., 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 J29956: SVL 40.7 mm; AG 20.8 mm; L1 14.8 mm; L2 20.5 mm; HL 9.5 mm; HW 7.2 mm; midbody scale rows 32; paravertebral scales 44; lamellae beneath fourth toe 29; supralabials 7 ; infralabials 6 ; supraciliaries 7.

Description: SVL 40.7–55.3 mm (n = 31, mean = 48.7); AG % SVL 42–55% SVL (n = 31, mean = 49%); L1 33–36% (n = 10, mean = 35%); L2 41–50% SVL (n = 31, mean = 45%); HW 68–88% HL (n = 31, mean = 74%). Body: Robust. Head and body continuous with almost no narrowing at neck. Snout rounded in profile. Limbs well-developed, forelimb tetradactyl, hindlimb pentadactyl, limbs 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 (eight in QM J55865 and J30835), first 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 but sometimes subequal; preoculars two, lower largest; presuboculars one; supralabials seven, with fifth below eye (eight with sixth below eye in QM J79575) and last overlapping lower secondary temporal and postsupralabials; postsupralabial divided; infralabials six, two in contact with postmental; midbody scale rows 30–36 (n = 31, mode = 32); paravertebral scales (to the level of the posterior margin of the hindlimbs) 45–50 (n = 31, mode = 45); fourth toe longest, subdigital lamellae 24–31 (n = 31, 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: For separating this species from other members of the ‘C. rugrigularis’ group, see species account for C. crypta sp. nov.
CommentDistribution: see map in Singhal et al. 2018. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • 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
  • DONNELLAN, S.C.; P.J. COUPER, K. M. SAINT & L. WHEATON 2009. Systematics of the Carlia ‘fusca’ complex (Reptilia: Scincidae) from northern Australia. Zootaxa 2227: 1-31 - get paper here
  • Goodman, Brett Alexander 2006. The effects of maternal size on clutch traits in a tropical invariant-clutch lizard, Carlia rubrigularis (Scincidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 27 (4): 505-511 - get paper here
  • Greenbaum, E. 2000. Herpetofaunal observations in disparate habitats in south Sustralia, New South Wales, and queensland, Australia. Herpetological Bulletin (72): 6-16 - get paper here
  • HOSKIN, CONRAD J. 2014. A new skink (Scincidae: Carlia) from the rainforest uplands of Cape Melville, north-east Australia. Zootaxa 3869 (3): 224–236 - get paper here
  • Ingram G; Covacevich J 1989. Revision of the genus Carlia (Reptilia, Scincidae) in Australia with comments on Carlia bicarinata of New Guinea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 27 (2): 443-490
  • LiVigni, F. (ed.) 2013. A Life for Reptiles and Amphibians, Volume 1. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 495 pp. - get paper here
  • Muñoz, M. M., Langham, G. M., Brandley, M. C., Rosauer, D. F., Williams, S. E. and Moritz, C. 2016. Basking behavior predicts the evolution of heat tolerance in Australian rainforest lizards. Evolution, 70: 2537–2549.doi:10.1111/evo.13064 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M; Sadlier, Ross A 1999. A catalogue of the non-fossil amphibian and reptile type specimens in the collection of the Australian Museum: types currently, previously and purportedly present. TECHNICAL REPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM 15, 1999: 1-91
  • 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
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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