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Ctenophorus mirrityana MCLEAN, MOUSSALLI, SASS, STUART-FOX, 2013

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Amphibolurinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesBarrier Range Dragon 
SynonymCtenophorus mirrityana MCLEAN, MOUSSALLI, SASS, STUART-FOX 2013 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales)

Type locality: Australia, New South Wales, Mootwingee [Historic Site, Mutawintji National Park], 31°17'S 142°18'E  
TypesHolotype: AMS R47295 (Fig. 8 in McLean et al. 2013), an adult male, 20 January 1975, collector P. Rankin et al. (Office of Environment and Heritage).
Paratypes. All specimens are from New South Wales. AMS R14661, Mootwingee Waterholes (31°19'S 142°19'E); AMS R45527–9, AMS R47294, AMS R47298, AMS R47335, AMS R61514, AMS R68792, AMS R125297, AMS R133122–3, AMS R145339, AMS R145341, AMS R145593, AMS R146252–3, AMS R149014, AMS R149021, AMS R149143, AMS R149146–7, AMS R151011–2, AMS R151014–7, AMS R151019–20, AMS R151733–5, AMS R153361, AMS R154857, AMS R154859, AMS R154863–4, AMS R154869–70, AMS R154872, AMS R154932–8, AMS R157300–7, AMS R157317–23, AMS R157325–8, AMS R157330–40, AMS R157342, AMS R157344, AMS R157346–9, SAM R5194A–B, SAM R14468A–B, SAM R31655, NMV D11511, NMV D11770, NMV D18019, NMV D40134–5, NMV D50516, NMV D56318–22, Mootwingee National Park (31°17'S 142°18'E), AMS R107358–67, 6 km S Mootwingee National Park (31°18'S 142°15'E), AMS R161707–8, Homestead Gorge, Mootwingee National Park (31°16'35"S 142°18'5"E), NMV D56323, Broken Hill (31°58'S 141°27'E), AMS R50540, Koonenberry Mountain (30°31'S 142°18'E), AMS R168437, “Belmont Station”, N Silverton (31°46'11"S 141°14'33"E). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the Ctenophorus decresii species complex (Houston & Hutchinson, 1998), C. mirrityana sp. nov. is a moderately sized, sexually dimorphic, rock-dwelling dragon lizard with a strongly compressed head and body (Fig. 7). Within the species complex, C. mirrityana sp. nov. is distinguishable by the following combination of characters: head relatively small for body size; snout scales keeled or weakly wrinkled; vertebral scales flat and pale in colour; black lateral stripe from tympanum to groin; thinner, non- continuous orange stripe within black lateral stripe; flanks lack tubercular scales; male throat coloration pale cream with parallel grey stripes and black central stripe sometimes overlain with orange flushes.

Comparison between species: Ctenophorus mirrityana sp. nov. strongly resembles C. decresii in coloration. In both species, male dorsal coloration consists of blue-grey base colour with a black lateral stripe and bright yellow-orange coloration around the head, however, throat coloration differentiates these species. The throat colour of C. mirrityana sp. nov. is cream with grey stripes, overlain with orange flushes, with a black central stripe. The black stripe is distinct to the species, although some northern C. decresii individuals may have a small, central black patch on their throat. Conversely, northern C. decresii males have orange, yellow, orange and yellow, or grey throats (Teasdale et al., 2013) and southern C. decresii males have blue or blue and yellow throats (Houston, 1974). Differences in lateral colour pattern further distinguish C. mirrityana sp. nov. and C. decresii (Fig. 9). Ctenophorus mirrityana sp. nov., has a non-continuous stripe of orange coloration which runs within a black lateral stripe between the tympanum and groin (Fig. 9A). In southern C. decresii, the lateral stripe is “pinched” along its length by the margining yellow-orange coloration and is interrupted on the neck, forming a separate black blotch behind the tympanum (Fig. 9B). Conversely, the black lateral stripe of northern C. decresii is relatively straight edged and continuous, and a cream, yellow or orange stripe runs along its upper edge and generally terminates just posterior to the shoulder (Fig. 9C). In other aspects of morphology, the head of C. mirrityana sp. nov. is smaller (relative to SVL) than that of C. decresii, and C. mirrityana sp. nov. has fewer internasal scales, fewer femoral pores, a greater number of supralabial and infralabial scales, a prominent pale vertebral line, and lacks scattered white tubercular scales on the flanks.
Notable phenotypic differentiation exists between C. mirrityana sp. nov. and the other members of the C. decresii species group. Ctenophorus mirrityana sp. nov. has a blue-grey body colour with a black lateral stripe compared with vertical orange-red and black flank markings in C. vadnappa, rows of pale spots in C. fionni, and a grey-brown body colour with pale lateral blotches forming vertical bars
in C. tjantjalka. Male C. mirrityana sp. nov. have cream throat coloration with grey stripes, a black central stripe, and orange flushes compared with yellow and blue in C. vadnappa, cream and yellow in C. fionni, and cream with fine grey reticulations in C. tjantjalka. Furthermore, while C. mirrityana sp. nov. has a dorsoventrally flattened head and smooth or weakly keeled snout scales, C. tjantjalka has a relatively short and deep head and coarsely wrinkled snout scales (Johnston, 1992). Snout scales are similarly wrinkled in C. vadnappa (Houston, 1974), which also has longer hindlimbs than C. mirrityana sp. nov. (Fig. 5). The distribution of C. mirrityana sp. nov. does not overlap with any other member of the group (Fig. 1); however, it may abut the most eastern populations of northern C. decresii around the SA/NSW border. Consequently, C. mirrityana sp. nov. is most likely to be confused with northern C. decresii based on distribution.
The northern and southern lineages of C. decresii are further distinguishable from each other by coloration (as described above) and a combination of other morphological characters. Southern C. decresii is generally smaller, has fewer supralabial and infralabial scales, and a greater number of femoral pores than northern C. decresii. Furthermore, southern C. decresii individuals consistently have prominent white tubercular scales along their flanks, which are often absent in northern individuals. 
CommentConservation status: possibly threatened. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet mirrityana is a word meaning “out in the sunlight” in the local Aboriginal language (Paakantyi; Hercus, 1993), in reference to the conspicuousness of the species during hot weather. There are several rock engravings depicting lizards at Mutawintji National Park (McCarthy & Macintosh, 1962), some of which may represent this species given it’s prominence in the area. 
  • Mcfadden, Michael S. and Dean Purcell. 2015. Ctenophorus mirrityana (barrier range dragon) longevity. Herpetological Review 46 (3): 372
  • McLean, Claire A., Adnan Moussalli, Steve Sass, and Devi Stuart-Fox 2013. Taxonomic Assessment of the Ctenophorus decresii Complex (Reptilia: Agamidae) Reveals a New Species of Dragon Lizard from Western New South Wales. Records of the Australian Museum 65(3): 51–63 - get paper here
  • Sass, Steve and Gerry Swan. 2014. Factors influencing habitat occupancy of the endangered barrier range dragon (Ctenophorus mirrityana: Agamidae). Herpetological Review 45 (2): 213-216
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