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Chalcides thierryi TORNIER, 1901

IUCN Red List - Chalcides thierryi - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Thierry's Cylindrical Skink 
SynonymChalcides bottegi var. thierryi TORNIER 1901: 87
Chalcides bottegi thierryi — LOVERIDGE 1936: 74
Chalcides thierryi — JOGER & LAMBERT 2002
Chalcides thierryi — GREENBAUM et al. 2006 
DistributionN Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso

Type locality: Mangu and Jendi, Togoland.  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 16607, Mangu [= Mango, Togo], collected Thierry; 16284, Jenti [=Yendi, Ghana], collected by Thierry. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Chalcides thierryi is a relatively large, pentadactyl species with extensively expanded vertebral scales, 20-22 scale rows at midbody, relatively long tail, and a dorsal ground colour of tan or brown with transverse rows of dark brown spots across the flanks, dorsum, and tail (usually with white borders on the tail). Chalcides thierryi is readily distinguished from its sub-Saharan conspecifics. Chalcides thierryi is distinguished from C. pulchellus by 20-22 scale rows at midbody (22-24 in C. pulchellus), 85-91 vertebrals (79-86 in C. pulchellus), 9-13 subdigital lamellae under Toe IV (13-17 in C. pulchellus), four phalanges in Toe IV (five in C. pulchellus), 41-44 presacral vertebrae (37-42 in C. pulchellus), a tan or brown ground colour (brown or bronze-brown in C. pulchellus), and brown spots that usually have white borders on the tail (brown spots that always lack white borders on the tail in C. pulchellus). Chalcides thierryi is distinguished from C. armitagei by pentadactyl limbs (tridactyl in C. armitagei), six supralabials (five in C. armitagei), six infralabials (four in C. armitagei), one postnasal (absent in C. armitagei), 85-91 ventrals (94-96 in C. armitagei), and 41-44 presacral vertebrae (50-51 in C. armitagei) (Caputo et al. 1995). Chalcides thierryi is distinguished from C. ocellatus and C. ragazzii by extensively expanded vertebrals (unexpanded or weakly expanded in C. ocellatus and C. ragazzii), uniform dorsal colour pattern (stripes in C. ocellatus and C. ragazzii), and lack of white ocelli (extensive white ocelli in C. ocellatus and C. ragazzii). Chalcides thierryi is distinguished from C. bottegi by a uniform dorsal colour pattern (stripes in C. bottegi) and lack of white ocelli (extensive white ocelli in C. bottegi). (Greenbaum 2005)

Description of Syntypes. The syntypes (Fig. 2b, c) are adults of unknown sex; morphometric and meristic data are shown in Tables 3 and 4. Head relatively small, as wide as neck; snout short, sides converging to rounded point, slightly projecting beyond labial margin; body slightly wider than neck, slightly depressed; limbs moderately short, forelimb laid forward reaches just past ear opening, hind limb fails to reach axilla by 65-72 mm; tail round in cross section, tapering gradually to fine point. A pair of narrow, elongated supranasals form a suture at the median line, contact rostral anteriorly, with internasal posteriorly; internasal contacts both frenals, first supraocular, as well as supranasals and frontal; frontal longer than wide, contacts first three supraoculars laterally, and interparietal and both parietals posteriorly; parietals large, meeting behind interparietal; interparietal shield-shaped, with parietal eye on posterocentral part of scale; two unkeeled nuchals meet at angle behind interparietal; first supraocular largest; first supraciliary longest; nasal pierced by nostril at anterior edge, nostril above suture between rostral and first supralabial; postnasal small, between nasal, supranasal, frenal, and first two supralabials; frenal large, contacts both frenoculars, first supraocular, internasal, postnasal, and second and third supralabials; two frenoculars, lower frenocular about twice as high as upper frenocular; two or three small postsuboculars just above sixth supralabial; lower eyelid with a rectangular, semi-transparent window; ear opening much larger than nostril, ventrally triangular or circular; mental large, wider than rostral, bordered posteriorly by one equally large postmental; two anterior chin shields meet medially behind postmental; vertebral scales expanded, about three times wider than long; other dorsal, lateral, and ventral scales of the trunk subequal, smooth, imbricate, hexagonal, about twice as wide as long; scales of palms and soles juxtaposed, raised, smooth. (Greenbaum 2005)

Colouration of Syntypes in Preservative. ZMB 16607 has a background dorsal colour of tan, becoming silvery gray on the flanks. Large dark brown blotches and spots are present on the posterior border of scales of the head plates, limbs, and from the anterior third of the body to the tip of the tail. Transverse rows of dark brown blotches are formed across the dorsum, and become rows of spots on the flanks. Venter immaculate, creamish tan except on the tail, where the transverse rows form rings around the circumference of the tail; blotches are present, but relatively light on the venter of the tail. ZMB 16284 is faded, but has a colour pattern consistent with the other syntype. (Greenbaum 2005) 
EtymologyNamed after Gaston Thierry (1866-1904), who judging by his name, should be French but was an Oberleutnant in the Imperial German Army. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Chirio, L. 2009. Inventaire des reptiles de la région de la Réserve de Biosphère Transfrontalière du W (Niger/Bénin/Burkina Faso: Afrique de l’Ouest). [Herpetological survey of the W Transfrontier Biosphere Reserve area (Niger/Benin/Burkina Faso: West Africa]. Bull. Soc. Herp. France (132): 13-41 - get paper here
  • GREENBAUM, E 2005. Systematics of West African skinks in the Chalcides thierryi group: composition, distribution, and redescription of types. African Journal of Herpetology 54:17–29. - get paper here
  • Greenbaum, E.; Campbell, A.C. & Raxworthy, C.J. 2006. A revision of sub-saharan Chalcides (Squamata: Scincidae) with redescriptions of two East African species. Herpetologica 62 (1): 71-89 - get paper here
  • Joger, U. & Lambert, M.R.K. 2002. Inventory of amphibians and reptiles in SE Senegal, including the Niokola-Koba National Park, with observations of factors influencing diversity. Tropical Zoology 15 (2): 165-185 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Papenfuss, T. J. 1969. Preliminary analysis of the reptiles of arid central West Africa. Wasmann Journal of Biology 27:249—325 - get paper here
  • Segniagbeto, Gabriel Hoinsoude; Jean-François Trape, Komlan M. Afiademanyo, Mark-Oliver Rödel, Annemarie Ohler, Alain Dubois, Patrick David, Danny Meirte, Isabelle Adolé Glitho, Fabio Petrozzi, and Luca Luiselli 2015. Checklist of the lizards of Togo (West Africa), with comments on systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation. Zoosystema 37 (2): 381-402 - get paper here
  • Tornier,G. 1901. Die Crocodile, Schildkröten und Eidechsen in Togo. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 1901, Beiheft: 65-88 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F.; Trape, S. & Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Orstom, 503 pp. - get paper here
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