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Carlia wundalthini HOSKIN, 2014

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesCape Melville Rainbow Skink 
SynonymCarlia wundalthini HOSKIN 2014 
DistributionAustralia (NE Queensland)

Type locality: Melville Range (14°16'33" S, 144°29'32" E, elevation 460 m elevation), Cape Melville, north-east Queensland, Australia.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: QM J93342 (field number N86248), adult male, C. J. Hoskin & H. B. Hines, 13 December 2013.
Paratypes. QM J93343 (field number N86249), adult male; QM J93344 (field number N86250), adult male; QM J93345 (field number N86252), adult male; QM J93346 (field number N86258), adult male; QM J93347 (field number N86261), adult female; collection details as for holotype. QM J92563, adult, probable female; QM J92564, subadult; QM J92565, subadult; QM J92566, subadult; QM J92575, adult, probable female; QM J92576, subadult; Melville Range (14°16'38" S, 144°29'28" E, elevation 500 m a.s.l.), Cape Melville, north-east Queensland, C. J. Hoskin, 20 March 2013. 
CommentDiagnosis. Distinguished from congeners by combination of interparietal fused with frontoparietal, smooth dorsal scales, small–medium size (max SVL to about 49 mm), male breeding colour consisting of orange flush down side of neck and flank and pale chin and throat (Figs 1C, 2, 3 in Hoskin 2014), round to horizontally elongate ear opening with sharp triangular lobule at front of ear and similar sharp lobules at least across the top of ear and often around entire margin (Figs 1C, 2, 4A).

Comparison with similar species. Distinguished from all other Carlia, except C. rhomboidalis and C. rubrigularis, in having the interparietal fused with the frontoparietal scale. Distinguished from C. rhomboidalis and C. rubrigularis by male breeding colour. Breeding C. wundalthini sp. nov. males have an orange flush down the sides of the neck and flanks (Figs 1C, 2, 6A). The chin and throat are uncoloured (except for faint orange sometimes extending onto the sides of the throat from the lower neck, e.g., Fig. 3B). In C. rhomboidalis and C. rubrigularis breeding colour is restricted to the chin and throat—blue chin and red throat in C. rhomboidalis (Fig. 1A), red chin and throat in C. rubrigularis (Fig. 1B). The sides of the neck and flanks are brown in both these species, except for red sometimes extending onto the lower sides of the neck in particularly well-coloured males of both species (e.g., Figs 1A, 1B). Carlia wundalthini sp. nov. is further distinguished from C. rubrigularis and C. rhomboidalis by ear opening shape and lobules. Carlia wundalthini sp. nov. has a round to horizontally elongate ear opening, with a sharp triangular anterior lobule and other similar lobules around the top (and sometimes entire) margin of the ear (e.g., Figs 1C, 2, 4A). In contrast, C. rubrigularis and C. rhomboidalis have a round to (typically) vertically elongate ear opening with one to three large triangular lobules at the front of the ear and typically no or small lobules around the rest of the margin (e.g., Figs 1A, 1B, 4B, 6C, 6D). Carlia wundalthini sp. nov. is also smaller (SVL mean, range, 43.6 mm, 36.7–49.0) than C. rubrigularis (48.7 mm, 44.7–54.6) and C. rhomboidalis (48.9 mm, 42.2–54.4), and has a less robust, more gracile build (BW/SVL 0.21, 0.20–0.22; WT/SVL 0.05, 0.04–0.06) than C. rubrigularis (BW/SVL 0.24, 0.21–0.27; WT/SVL 0.08, 0.06–0.09) and C. rhomboidalis (BW/ SVL 0.23, 0.20–0.27; WT/SVL 0.07, 0.06–0.10). Additional more subtle differences include the following. A pale dorsolateral line is rarely evident on adult C. wundalthini sp. nov., whereas it is typically evident (and often prominent, particularly on females) on C. rubrigularis (e.g., Figs 1B, 6D) and C. rhomboidalis (e.g., Fig. 1A). White mid-lateral markings are typically reduced to a series of white dots on adult female C. wundalthini sp. nov. (e.g., Fig. 6B) and are absent on males (e.g., Fig. 2), whereas C. rubrigularis and C. rhomboidalis females typically have a prominent mid-lateral series of white markings (e.g., Fig. 6D) and males often have some indication of these.

Habitat: upland rainforest. Individuals were found during the day active on the surface of leaf-litter or basking in small sun-patches. When disturbed the skinks hid under the leaf-litter or retreated to tangles of fallen branches or rock crevices. 
EtymologyWundalthini was the name of Charlie Monaghan, a Traditional Owner who was born in the Cape Melville area and who passed on much of the knowledge and responsibility for that country to the current generation of its Traditional Owners. The species was named by the bubu gudjin of Cape Melville, the Traditional Owners who have the responsibility to speak for the land where the species lives. 
References
  • 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
 
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