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Coeranoscincus reticulatus (GÜNTHER, 1873)

IUCN Red List - Coeranoscincus reticulatus - Least Concern, LR

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Three-toed Snake-tooth Skink 
SynonymChelomeles reticulatus GÜNTHER 1873: 146
Lygosoma reticulatum — SMITH 1937: 221
Anomalopus reticulatus — COGGER 1983: 136
Coeranoscincus reticulatus — GREER & COGGER 1985: 45
Coeranoscincus reticulatus — COGGER 2000: 402
Coeranoscincus reticulatus — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Coeranoscincus reticulatus — SKINNER et al. 2013 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales, Queensland)

Type locality: Clarence River, N. S. W.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.3.1 (formerly, Clarence River, NSW, purchased G. Krefft. Cited as 1946.8.3.25 by Cogger et al. (1983). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Differs from all other lygosomines with a digital formula of 3/3 (Eumecia achietae (some), Hemiergis decresiensis, Lerista fragilis, L. haroldi, L. muelleri, L. terdigitata and Saiphos equalis) in having distinct prefrontals and 2 loreals instead of 1 (Saiphos), in having lost the external ear opening (Eumecia and Lerista), or in having a scaly lower eyelid instead of an eyelid with a clear window (Hemiergis). For a comparison with the only other species in the genus, see below and Table 6 (Greer & Cogger 1985: 41)

Description. As the last comprehensive description of this species was provided nearly a century ago (Boulenger, 1887) and the species is still somewhat rare in collections today, a redescription based on currently important characters may be useful.
In general appearance, a long, attenuate skink with small front and rear tridactyl limbs and a plain brown to dark, cross-banded colour pattern.
Snout, bluntly conical; rostral trilobed with moderately deep median lobe projecting between nasals to make contact with frontonasal, and two truncated lateral lobes ending at level of nostril; frontonasal slightly wider than long; prefrontals large but separated; frontal slightly longer than wide, approximately equal to, or slightly shorter than, midline length of frontoparietals and interparietal; supraoculars 3, first 2 in contact with frontal; frontoparietals distinct, each shorter than interparietal; interparietal distinct, with distinct parietal eye spot; parietals meet behind interparietal, each bordered posterolaterally by upper secondary temporal and anterior nuchal, and often a third scale intercalated between the two; nuchals differentiated, 2-4 (mode = 4).
Nasals slightly enlarged, separated, with nostril situated well forward and slightly below centre; loreals 2; preoculars 2, lower much the larger; subocular scale row interrupted or narrowed appreciably below centre of eye; presuboculars usually 2, rarely 1; postsuboculars 2; supraciliaries 5-6 (mode = 6), first largest and in contact with frontal, last projects between last supraocular and first pretemporal; lower eyelid scaly; pretemporals two; primary temporal single; secondary temporals 2, upper much the larger and overlapped by lower; external ear opening absent, its former position indicated by a conical depression in a nearly vertical crease; supralabials 6, fourth subocular; postsupralabials usually 2, occasionally 1; mental moderate in size; postmental as large as mental, in contact with first 2 infralabials on either side; enlarged pairs of chin scales 3, first pair in contact, second pair
separated by 1 scale row, and third by 3.
Body scales smooth, in 23-28 longitudinal rows at midbody; paravertebral scales only slightly wider than more lateral rows, 109-125 in a single row; inner preanals overlap outer, medial pair enlarged; median row of subcaudals slightly wider than immediately
adjacent rows.
Snout-vent length 67-195 mm; front leg 0.04-0.07 x
SVL, with 3 very short, clawed toes of which middle is largest; rear leg with 3 very short, clawed toes of which middle is largest, 0.04-0.09 x SVL; tail pointed, 0.98-1.47 x SVL (Greer & Cogger 1985: 41)

Colour. Individuals approximately 70 mm SVL and shorter have very conspicuous dark crossbands which are large and distinct anteriorly but become broken and diffuse posteriorly. Generally, there is a rather broad dark crossband or blotch on the head extending down into the ocular area, a slightly narrower one across the nape, and numerous posterior bands which are still narrower and more variable. Adults never seem to retain the dark head band except as a dark ocular blotch, while the nape and body bands may be either retained throughout life (albeit against a generally darkening ground colour) or lost from back to front, the ultimate in this trend being the total loss of banding. The venter is usually heavily reticulated with dark colour.
In life, an adult male (AM R 89281) had the labial area and side of head and neck back to the ear suffused with light-yellow, the chin and throat even paler yellow and the rest of the venter grey (pers. obs.; see also Czechura, 1974) (Greer & Cogger 1985: 43) 
CommentMcDonald 1977 described 5 color forms of this species.

Limb morphology: 3 digits, 3 toes (Limbs reduced, Singhal et al. 2018, Brandley et al 2008) 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P. J. 1992. A NESTING RECORD FOR COERANOSClNCUS RETlCULATUS (GÜNTHER). Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 32 (1): 60 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Greer A E; Cogger H G 1985. Systematics of the reduce-limbed and limbless skinks currently assigned to the genus Anomalopus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 37(1) 1985: 11-54 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1873. Notes on and descriptions of some lizards with rudimentary limbs, in the British Museum. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (4) 12: 145-148 - get paper here
  • Reeder, T.W. 2003. A phylogeny of the Australian Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relatio Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 384–397 - 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
  • Skinner, Adam; Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael S.Y. Lee 2013. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Australian Sphenomorphus Group Skinks (Scincidae, Squamata). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 906–918 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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