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Cordylus cordylus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesE: Cape Girdled Lizard
G: Kap-Gürtelschweif 
SynonymLacerta cordylus LINNAEUS 1758: 202
Cordylus verus LAURENTI 1768
Stellio cordylus — DAUDIN 1802
Cordylus dorsalis CUVIER 1829
Cordylus griseus CUVIER 1829
Zonurus vertebralis GRAY 1838
Zonurus cordylus — GRAY 1845
Zonurus cordylus — BOULENGER 1885: 256
Zonurus cordylus — BOULENGER 1897: 277
Zonurus cordylus flavus ROSE 1926
Zonurus cordylus tasmani POWER 1930
Cordylus cordylus tasmani FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus cordylus — FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus tasmani — BROADLEY 1971
Cordylus cordylus — FROST et al. 2001
Cordylus tasmani — ADOLPHS 2006
Cordylus cordylus — STANLEY et al. 2011
Cordylus cordylus — BATES et al. 2014: 187 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa, SW Lesotho and S KwaZulu-Natal

Type locality: “Africa, Asia”

tasmani: Republic of South Africa (Algoa Basin in E Cape; Type locality: Dunbrody, Uitenhage District, South Africa.  
ReproductionOvoviviparous/Viviparous, giving birth to 1–3 young. 
TypesHolotype: NRM (Royal Museum Stockholm)
Syntypes (13): a) PEM R13518–22 (formerly AMG 5183) [tasmani] 
CommentDistribution: Not listed for Botswana by AUERBACH 1987. Not in Tanzania, Kenya fide SPAWLS et al 2018. Restricted to South Afric and SW Lesotho and S KwaZulu-Natal; see map in Bates et al. 2014: 187

Synonymy: Cordylus tasmani nests within Cordylus cordylus in a molecular phylogeny based on 6 genes (Stanley et al. 2011).

Type species: Cordylus verus LAURENTI 1768 (= Lacerta cordylus LINNAEUS 1758) is the type species of the genus Cordylus LAURENTI 1768.

ZMB 1135 appears to be pictured in Merrem 1790: 42, 1821: 52 and may be the iconotype of Linnaeus 1758 (fide BAUER & GÜNTHER 2014)

Definition (genus): Body moderately flattened in cross-section, small to medium-sized (maximum SVL 66–95 mm), robust. Limbs of mod- erate length, digits unreduced. Dorsal scales small and smooth to keeled in 16–30 transverse rows; caudal scales enlarged and spi- nose; head triangular; no occipital spines present. Lower eyelid without transparent disc. Tongue unpigmented. Osteoderms dis- tributed across entire body [from STANLEY et al. 2011]. 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “kordyle” = bump, swelling, referring to the rough skin of the genus (and the species). 
  • Adolphs, K. 2006. Bibliotheca Cordyliformium. Squamata Verlag, Sankt Augustin, 303 pp.
  • Andersson, L.G. 1900. Catalogue of Linnean type-specimens of Linnaeus's Reptilia in the Royal Museum in Stockholm. [type catalogue] Bihang till Konglika Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens. Handlingar. Stockholm. (4) 26 (1): 1-29. - get paper here
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • BATES, M. F.; T. CLARK & S. ABELL 2017. CORDYLIDAE: Cordylus cordylus (Linnaeus, 1758) - CAPE GIRDLED LIZARD IN LESOTHO. African Herp News (64): 39-41 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M. & Rainer Günther 2014. Die Amphibien und Reptilien aus der von Borcke-Sammlung des Berliner Museums für Naturkunde: eine Fundgrube für verschollen geglaubtes Seba-Material. Sekretär 14 (1): 3-33
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1897. A list of reptiles and batrachians from the Congo Free State, with the description of two new snakes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 19: 276-281 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, Donald G. 1971. A reassessment of the northern forms currently assigned to the Cordylus cordylus group. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 7: 20-22. - get paper here
  • Brody, L. S.;Mouton, P. le F. N.;Grant, W. S. 1993. Electrophoretic analysis of the Cordylus cordylus species group in the southwestern Cape, South Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia 14 (1): 19-34 - get paper here
  • Conradie, Werner; Brian Reeves , Neil Brown, & Jan A. Venter 2016. Herpetofauna of the Oviston, Commando Drift and Tsolwana nature reserves in the arid interior of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa Indago 32: 81-98 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • Cooper Jr., W.E. 2005. Duration of movement as a lizard foraging movement variable. Herpetologica 61 (4): 363-372 - get paper here
  • Cuvier, G. J. L. N. F. D. 1829. Le Regne Animal Distribué, d'apres son Organisation, pur servir de base à l'Histoire naturelle des Animaux et d'introduction à l'Anatomie Comparé. Nouvelle Edition [second edition]. Vol. 2. Les Reptiles. Déterville, Paris, i-xvi, 1-406 - get paper here
  • Diedericks, Genevieve; Savel R. Daniels 2013. Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough? Phylogeography of the rupicolous Cape girdled lizard (Cordylus cordylus) reveals a generalist pattern. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Essex, R. 1925. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Acontias and notes on some other lizards found in the Cape Province. Rec. Albany Mus. 3: 332-342.
  • FitzSimons, VIVIAN 1958. A new Cordylus from Gorongoza, Mocambique. Ann. Natal Mus. (Pietermaritzburg) 14 (2): 351-353
  • Frost, D.; Janies, D.; Le Fras N. Mouton, P. & Titus, T. 2003. A molecular perspective on the phylogeny of the Girdled Lizards (Cordylidae, Squamata). American Museum Novitates (3310): 1-10 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1838. Catalogue of the slender-tongued saurians, with descriptions of many new genera and species. Part 3. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 1: 388-394 - get paper here
  • Laurenti, J. N. 1768. Specimen medicum, exhibens synopsin reptilium emendatam cum experimentis circa venena et antidota reptilium austracorum, quod authoritate et consensu. Vienna, Joan. Thomae, 217 pp. - get paper here
  • Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - 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
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. 1985. Comments on the Cordylus cordylus complex in the Southwestern Cape. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 31: 16-18. - get paper here
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. 1987. Phenotypic variation among populations of Cordylus cordylus (Reptilia: Cordylidae) in the south-western Cape Province, South Africa. South African J Zoology 22 (2): 119-129.
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. & Oelofsen, B. W. 1988. A model explaining patterns of geographic character variation on Cordylus cordylus (Reptilia; Cordylidae) in the south-western Cape, South Africa. South African J Zoology 23 (1): 20-31.
  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324.
  • Phelps, T. 2009. Cordylus cordylus. Fire survival. African Herp News (48): 18-19 - get paper here
  • Power,J.H. 1930. On the South African species of the genus Zonurus. Ann. Transvaal Mus. (Pretoria) 14 (1): 11-19
  • Reissig, J. 2014. Girdled Lizards and Their Relatives. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, ISBN-10: 3899734378
  • Schwier, H. 2007. Gürtelschweife - die Gattung Cordylus. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (65): 16-23 - get paper here
  • Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70. - get paper here
  • Switak, Karl H. 1995. Girdle-tailed lizards of the genus Cordylus. Reptiles 3 (6): 8-24
  • Valencia, J. H., K. Garzón-Tello & M. E. Barragán-Paladines 2016. Serpientes venenosas del Ecuador: sistemática, taxonomía, historia natural, conservación, envenenamiento y aspectos antropológicos. Quito, Ecuador, Fundación Herpetológica Gustavo Orcés, Universidad de Texas, Fondo Ambiental Nacional, 652 pp. [review in HR 49 (1): 152, 2018]
  • Villiers, André de, P. le Fras N. Mouton and Alexander Flemming. 2015. Generation glands of cordylid lizards: mechanism of secretion transfer to the environment. Amphibia-Reptilia 36 (4): 351-360 - get paper here
  • Visser, John D. 1971. Cordylus cordylus and its races in the Cape Province - A general discussion. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 7: 18-20. - get paper here
  • Wirminghaus, J. O. 1990. Observations on the behaviour of the Cape girdled lizard Cordylus cordylus (Reptilia: Cordylidae). Journal of Natural History (London), 24 (6): 1617-1627
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