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Carlia sexdentata (MACLEAY, 1877)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesClosed-litter Rainbow-skink 
SynonymHeteropus sexdentatus MACLEAY 1877: 67
Heteropus variegatus MACLEAY 1877: 66
Heteropus maculatus DE VIS 1885: 169
Heteropus rubricatus DE VIS 1885: 170
Carlia sexdentata — DONNELLAN et al. 2009
Carlia sexdentata — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (NE Northern Territory and NE Queensland)

Type locality: Cape Grenville, NE Qld (11°58'S, 143°14'E). Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproduction 
TypesLectotype: AMS (AM) R31879
Syntypes: AM R31868-70, from Darnley Is., Torres Strait, Qld. [Heteropus variegatus]
Holotype: QM presumed lost (probably from Cape York, Qld.), see Covacevich (1971) [Heteropus maculatus]
Holotype: QM presumed lost (probably from Cape York, Qld.), see Covacevich (1971) [Heteropus rubricatus] 
CommentSynonymy after DONNELLAN et al. 2009. Has long been synonymized with Carlia longipes.

Diagnosis: Carlia sexdentata most closely resembles C. longipes from which it is separated herein. The two species are distinguished most readily by the colour pattern of adult males and the nature of the ear lobules. In C. sexdentata the dark midlateral zone between ear and shoulder does not contrast sharply with the lower neck colour vs contrasting sharply with lower neck colour; in C. sexdentata the ear aperture usually has a well-developed series of lobules on the anterior margin often producing a distinctive comb- like effect, lobules poorly to moderately developed on other surfaces of ear (Fig. 10a, b) vs ear aperture completely surrounded by sharply pointed lobules (Fig. 7). Carlia sexdentata lacks the dorsal and lateral pattern seen in C. quinquecarinata (large, longitudinally aligned, dark-edged, pale dashes on the dorsum and a broken midlateral line [Fig. 12c]). Carlia sexdentata need only be distinguished from other species of Carlia with a smoothly rounded posterior edge to the midbody scales. It is distinguished from C. munda and C. tetradactyla by the nature of its ear lobules (sharply pointed vs small and rounded); from C. rimula by its greater midbody scale count and larger size (31–38 vs ≤ 30; max SVL = 63.5mm vs 39mm); from C. rhomboidalis and C. rubrigularis by the state of the interparietal scale (free vs fused); from C. rostralis by its ear lobules and male breeding colours (ear aperture usually has a series of well-developed lobules on the anterior margin often producing a distinctive comb-like effect, lobules poorly to moderately developed on other surfaces of ear vs ear aperture generally with only one or two large pointed lobules on anterior edge; males with pale throat vs black throat). Of the above listed species, its broad distribution only overlaps with C. munda and C. rimula. Whether it overlaps with C. longipes remains unclear. The two species may be mutually exclusive but, if so, the southern limit for C. sexdentata is in close proximity to the northern limit for C. longipes [from DONNELLAN et al. 2009].

Note: the ear lobule state (ear aperture is completely surrounded by sharply pointed lobules in C. longipes vs usually a series of well-developed lobules on anterior margin often producing a distinctive comb-like effect, lobules poorly to moderately developed on other surfaces of ear for C. sexdentata) is more variable in Torres Strait with island C. sexdentata specimens commonly approaching the `completely surrounded’ C. longipes condition. 
References
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • De Vis, C. W. 1885. A conspect of the genus Heteropus. Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 1: 166-173 - 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
  • Macleay, W. 1877. The lizards of the Chevert Expedition. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales, 2: 60-69; 97-104 - 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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