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Cryptoblepharus egeriae (BOULENGER, 1889)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Christmas Island Blue-tailed Shinning-skink
G: Weihnachtsinsel-Blauschwanzskink 
SynonymAblepharus egeriae BOULENGER 1889: 535
Ablepharus boutonii egeriae — MERTENS 1931: 169
Ablepharus boutonii egeriae — GIBSON-HILL 1940
Cryptoblepharus egeriae — GREER 1974: 21
Cryptoblepharus egeriae — COGGER 1983: 141
Cryptoblepharus egeriae — COGGER 2000: 728
Cryptoblepharus egeriae — HORNER 2007: 147
Cryptoblepharus egeriae — JAMES et al. 2019 
DistributionAustralia (Christmas Islands)

Type locality: Christmas Is., Indian Ocean.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.8.15.86-88 (3) 
DiagnosisThe only Cryptoblepharus with interparietal distinct from the large, single frontoparietal shield [...] iridescent blue tail is a feature of both sexes and is brightest in juveniles, the intensity of colour diminishing in large adults. (Cogger et al. 1983)

Original description: “Snout pointed, rostral not projecting. Eye entirely surrounded with granules; upper eyelid represented by three or four larger scales. Rostral largely in contact with the frontonasal; prefrontals a forming a long suture frontal small, in contact with the first and second supraoculars; five supraoculars, second largest, fifth smallest; seven supraciliaries; interparietal distinct from the very large, single frontoparietal a pair of large nuchals. Ear-opening rather small, oval. Scales smooth or feebly striated, two vertebral rows largest 26 or 28 scales round the middle of the body. Limbs well deve loped, pertadactyle; the hind limb reaches the axilla in the male, the elbow in the female; digits long and slender, smooth inferiorly. Tail once and a half the length of head and body. Bronzy above, with blackish and pale greenish spots a light, dark-edged dorsolateral band; end of tail blue; lower parts greenish white.” (Boulenger 1889)

Measurements of the holotype (apparently, as several specimens are mentioned; from Boulenger 1889):

Total length: 113 mm
Head: 10 mm
Width of head: 6 mm
Body: 35 mm
Fore limb: 17 mm
Hind limb: 21 mm
Tail: 68 mm

Comparisons: Closely allied to A. boutoni, Desj., from which it differs in the distinct interparietal shield. (Boulenger 1889) 
CommentCogger et al (1983) noted “common in household gardens and road-side vegetation between Flying Fish Cove and Rocky Point; basks on stone or brick walls, fences, ornamental trees, shrubs and coconut palms; also seen on fallen tree trunks associated with clearings in primary rainforest”.

Conservation: Extinct in the wild fide Tingley et al. 2019. 
EtymologyNamed after HMS Egeria, which visited Christmas Island (1887). 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1889. On the reptiles of Christmas Island. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1888: 534-536. - get paper here
  • 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., 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
  • Dodge T, Farquharson K, Ford C, et al. 2022. Genomes of two Extinct-in-the-Wild reptiles from Christmas Island reveal distinct evolutionary histories and conservation insights. Authorea Preprints; 2022 - get paper here
  • Emery, J. P., Valentine, L. E., Hitchen, Y., & Mitchell, N. 2020. Survival of an Extinct in the Wild skink from Christmas Island is reduced by an invasive centipede: implications for future reintroductions. Biological Invasions, 1-12 - get paper here
  • Gibson-Hill, C.A. 1947. The terrestrial reptiles [of the Christmas Islands]. Bull. Raffles Mus. No 18: 81-86
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Horner, P. 2007. Systematics of the snake-eyed skinks, Cryptoblepharus Wiegmann (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) - an Australian based review. The Beagle Supplement 3: 21-198
  • Mertens,R. 1931. Ablepharus boutonii (DESJARDIN) und seine geographische Variation. Zool. Jahrb. Syst. 61: 63-210
  • Oliver PM, Blom MPK, Cogger HG, Fisher RN, Richmond JQ, Woinarski JCZ. 2018. Insular biogeographic origins and high phylogenetic distinctiveness for a recently depleted lizard fauna from Christmas Island, Australia. Biol. Lett. 14: 20170696 - get paper here
  • Schwarz, E. 2018. Christmas Island – Arterhaltung auf Australisch. Reptilia 23 (134): 72-80 - get paper here
  • Tingley, Reid; Macdonald, Stewart L; Mitchell, Nicola J; Woinarski, John C Z; Meiri, Shai; Bowles, Phil; Cox, Neil A; Shea, Glenn M; Böhm, Monika; Chanson, Janice; Tognelli, Marcelo F; Harris, Jaclyn; Walke, Claire; Harrison, Natasha; Victor, Savanna 2019. Geographic and taxonomic patterns of extinction risk in Australian squamates. Biol. Conserv. 238, 108203 - get paper here
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