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Cordylus meculae BRANCH, RÖDEL & MARAIS, 2005

IUCN Red List - Cordylus meculae - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesMecula Girdled Lizard 
SynonymCordylus meculae BRANCH, RÖDEL & MARAIS 2005
Cordylus meculae — STANLEY et al. 2011 
DistributionN Mozambique (Niassa Province)

Type locality: summit rock outcrops of Serra Mecula, Niassa Game Reserve, Niassa Province, northern Mozambique (12° 03' 11" S, 37° 38' 49" E; 1029 m elevation)  
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesHolotype: PEM R16166 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large, rupicolous species with head and body depressed. Morphologically closest to C. rhodesianus and C. nyikae, but distinguished from most southern African Cordylus species (including the C. warreni complex, but not C. cataphractus or C. vittifer) by contact of the nasals and prefrontals; from C. giganteus, the C. warreni complex, and many specimens of C. tropidosternum from Tanzania and northern Mozambique, by contact of the nasal scales; from other East African species in having a relatively wider and deeper head (narrower but deeper in C. ukingensis); from C. beraduccii in having smooth gular scales, a higher number of transverse gulars (16-22 in C. beraduccii), subcycloid to subrectangular lateral scales with the keels and mucrones directed diagonally upwards and set in granular skin (lateral scales juxtaposed with horizontal keels in C. beraduccii), and greater size; from C. ukingensis by the lower medial position of the nostril, smooth gulars, higher number of transverse gulars (15- 16 in C. ukingensis), greater body size and rupicolous habits; from C. tropidosternum by the lower medial position of the nostril, smooth gulars, and having the 2nd and 3rd supraoculars largest (first three subequal in C. tropidosternum), and rupicolous habits; from C. nyikae by having serrated posterior margins to the dorsal scales (smooth in C. nyikae), lower number of transverse dorsals (27-30 in C. nyikae), slightly higher number of longitudinal dorsals and laterals (19-23 in C. nyikae), in always having the prefrontals in contact (often separated by frontal-frontonasal contact or presence of an azygous shield in C. nyikae), in having a wider rostral (twice as broad as deep in C. nyikae); and in having non-swollen nasals, with the nostril more centrally placed and usually well separated from the first supralabial; from C. rhodesianus by having more rugose head shields (finely rugose to relatively smooth in C. rhodesianus), a wider rostral (nearly three times as broad as deep in C. rhodesianus), interparietal rarely elongated forward to contact frontoparietals, and greyish dorsal colouration (yellowbrown to blackish in C. rhodesianus); and from C. rivae in having a relatively small interparietal that does not separate the anterior parietals, no median subtriangular occipital, by contact of the prefrontals, separation of the interparietal/ frontoparietals, smooth gular scales, subcycloid to subrectangular lateral scales with the keels and mucrones directed diagonally upwards and set in granular skin (lateral scales juxtaposed with horizontal keels in C. rivae), few subdigital lamellae below the fourth toe (14-17 in C. rivae), higher number of transverse gulars (16-19 in C. rivae), weakly developed femoral pores in females, and generation glands present in males only [from BRANCH et al. 2005]. 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
References
  • BRANCH, WILLIAM R.; MARK-OLIVER RÖDEL AND JOHAN MARAIS 2005. A new species of rupicolous Cordylus Laurenti 1768 (Sauria: Cordylidae) from Northern Mozambique. African Journal of Herpetology 54 (2): 131-138. - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2007. Ein neuer Gürtelschweif aus Mosambik: Cordylus meculae. Terraria 4: 33
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - 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
 
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