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Chalarodon steinkampi MIRALLES, GLAW, RATSOAVINA & VENCES, 2015

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Higher TaxaOpluridae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesE: Steinkamp’s Madagascar iguana
G: Steinkamps Madagaskar-Sandleguan 
SynonymChalarodon steinkampi MIRALLES, GLAW, RATSOAVINA & VENCES 2015 
DistributionSE Madgascar

Type locality: 30 km north of Amboasary Sud along the road to Esomony (-24.7721, 46.4207, 160 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: ZSM 835/2010 (field number ZCMV 12909), adult male, collected on 17 December 2010, by A. Miralles and F. M. Ratsoavina.
Paratypes. ZSM 836/2010 (ZCMV 12910), adult male, and ZSM 834/2010 (ZCMV 12908), female (possibly subadult), same locality and collection data as holotype; ZSM 139/2005 (FGZC 2330), adult male, from a site north of Tranomaro along the road to Esomony (-24.51792, 46.59895, 420 m above sea level), collected by F. Glaw, M. Vences and P. Bora on 25 January 2005; ZSM 140/2005 (FGZC 2550), adult female, and two specimens not examined morphologically and deposited in UADBA collection (FGZC 2549 and 2363), all from the surroundings of Esomony village near crossing of Manambolo river (-24.51762, 46.60405, 420 m above sea level), collected by F. Glaw, M. Vences and P. Bora on 1 February 2005. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. The new species is a member of the genus Chalarodon, easily distinguished from Oplurus, the only other genus of iguanids present in Madagascar, by (i) a rather small size, (ii) absence of enlarged or spiny scales encircling the tail and (iii) the presence of a longitudinal dorsal crest (especially marked in sexually mature males) running from the occipital region to the mid-length of the tail.
The new species is morphologically differentiated from Chalarodon madagascariensis, the only nominal species in the genus, by (1) smooth (unkeeled) gular and ventral scales (vs. strongly keeled with 1–3 keels per scale), (2) mental scale in contact with four scales (vs. with 5–8, usually 6 scales), (3) a spotted pattern extending from flanks onto belly (vs. this pattern restricted to flanks), (4) an unpigmented throat (vs. mostly pigmented throat), (5) a distinct, dark dorsal pattern (vs. absent or poorly delimited), (6) on average relatively shorter limbs (FOL/SVL ratio 0.40−0.43 vs. 0.40−0.49; HIL/SVL ratio 0.68−0.79 vs. 0.74−0.87), (7) on average a lower number of spines in dorsal crest (81−97 vs. 90−109), and (8) on average a lower number of scale rows around midbody (144−170 vs. 165−204). Furthermore, C. steinkampi is distinguished from C. madagascariensis by a relevant differentiation in mtDNA and nDNA, without indications for admixture despite occurrence in close geographical proximity, without obvious geographical barriers between populations. 
EtymologyThe specific name is dedicated to Martin Steinkamp, in recognition of his support of biodiversity research and nature conservation through the BIOPAT initiative. 
  • MIRALLES, AURELIEN; FRANK GLAW, FANOMEZANA M. RATSOAVINA, & MIGUEL VENCES 2015. A likely microendemic new species of terrestrial iguana, genus Chalarodon, from Madagascar. Zootaxa 3946 (2): 201–220 - get paper here
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