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Ctenotus fallens STORR, 1974

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: West-coast Laterite Ctenotus 
SynonymCtenotus fallens STORR 1974: 88
Ctenotus fallens — COGGER 1983: 146
Minervascincus fallens — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 34
Ctenotus fallens — COGGER 2000: 424
Ctenotus fallens — COUPER et al. 2006
Ctenotus fallens — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Ctenotus fallens — HOW et al. 2020 
DistributionAustralia (Western Australia)

Type locality: 11 mi SSE of Kalbarri, in 27° 52’ S, 114° 12’ E, W. A.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.15.45
Holotype: WAM R24239 [saxatilis]
Holotype: WAM R25680 [severus]
Holotype: WAM R30004 [helenae]
Holotype: WAM R33780 [fallens]
Holotype: NMV D13944 [brachyonyx] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: in Rabosky et al. 2014.

Diagnosis: “A member of the lesueurii group, inornatus sub-group, with well-developed black vertebral stripe and white dorsolateral line, distinguishable from C. lesueurii by more numerous midbody scale rows, fewer nuchals and sub-digital lamellae, and duller, less complex colour pattern, e.g. no white dorsal line between white paravertebral and dorsolateral lines.” (Storr 1975: 222)

Description: “Snout-vent length (mm): 32-101 (70.3). Length of appendages (% SVL): . foreleg 20-31 (24.8), hindleg 33-52 (42.0); tail 177-268 (220).
Nasals usually separated (usually narrowly), occasionally in short contact. Prefrontals usually forming a median suture; rarely separated and then very narrowly. Supraocul~s 4, first 3 in contact with frontal (one specimen with first fused to second). Supraciliaries usually 7 or 8, rarely 9, very rarely 6, mean 7.5, third or fourth to penultimate usually much smaller than others and sometimes hidden by moderately strong brow. Palpebrals 9-14 (10.9). Second loreal 0.8-2.2 (1.42) times as wide as high. Upper labials usually 8 (92% of specimens), rarely .9, very rarely 7, mean 8.0. Ear lobules 3-7 (4.9). Nuchals usually 2 or 3 (92% of specimens), rarely 4, very rarely 1 (except at Ningaloo, where all three specimens have only 1), mean 2.6. Midbody scale rows 26-36 (30.5). Lamellae under fourth toe 17-25 (21.5).
Dorsal ground colour olive green, brown or blackish. Moderately wide black vertebral stripe from nape to tail (on which it is paler), edged with white or brownish white, which in turn is usually narrowly edged with black. White dorsolateral line from nape to tail (on which it is suffused with brown), sometimes extending indistinctly forwards to supraoculars, margined above and below with black. Upper lateral zone bearing a series of pale blotches or large spots. White midlateral stripe from behind axilla to tail, edged above and below with black.” (Storr 1975: 222)

Geographic variation: “The above colour description applies to northern specimens, south to Cape Range, Hamersley Range and the sources of the Oakover. At Ningaloo, Ullawarra and Mt Newman and south thereof, colour pattern is reduced: the vertebral stripe is narrower, and its white margin usually lacks a black edge; and the pale midlateral stripe is often narrow and indistinct. These somewhat sparse and scattered southern populations also differ in scutellation:
(1) the first supraocular is not quite so narrow relative to the second; (2) because the second and third supraciliaries are seldom fused, it is the fourth (rather than the third) that is the anteriormost of the small supraciliaries; (3) the disparity between small and large supraciliaries is not so marked as in the north; (4) supraciliaries average fewer in number (despite the infrequency of fusion); (5) the second loreal is relatively wider; (6) ear lobules are fewer; and (7) nuchals are fewer.” (Storr 1975: 222) 
CommentSynonymy: Rabosky et al. (2014) found no genetic pattern that differentiated inornatus from helenae, saxatilis, serverus, fallens, or brachyonyx and thus synonymized them with inornatus.

Habitat: Triodia sandplains and flat rocky areas (Shea et al., 1988).

Behavior: The species is active during the day and terrestrial (Shea et al. 1988).

NCBI tax IDs: saxatilis = 480777 (Reptile Database ID = 12842), severus = 480783 (12848), helenae = 480746 (12802), fallens = 480739 (12794), brachyonyx = no NCBI (12778). Note that NCBI tax IDs are not preserved once species get synonymized. If any of them get revalidated they will get new NCBI IDs.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014) 
  • Barr, J; Somaweera, R & Bateman, P W 2018. Ctenotus fallens (West Coast Ctenotus) Anomalous death through use of modelling clay for research. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 327-328 - 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
  • D'Amore, Domenic Corvasce; David Meadows, Simon Clulow, Jeremiah Sean Doody, David Rhind, Colin McHenry 2018. Increasing dietary breadth through allometry: bite forces in sympatric Australian skinks. Herpetology Notes 11: 179-187 - get paper here
  • Even,Eddy 2005. Reptielen zoeken in Australië. Lacerta 63 (2): 48-65 - get paper here
  • Glauert, L. 1952. Herpetological miscellanea. l. Notes of some forms of Diplodactylus. Some new western Australian lizards. Western Australian Naturalist 3: 166—168 [1951] - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Hallermann, J. 2020. An annotated list of reptiles and amphibians from the 1905 Hamburg expedition to southwest Australia deposited in the Zoological Museum Hamburg. Evolutionary Systematics 4: 61 - get paper here
  • Jennings, W.B. & G.G. Thompson 1999. Territorial Behavior in the Australian Scincid Lizard Ctenotus fallens Herpetologica 55 (3): 352-361. - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1969. Sympatry of desert lizards (Ctenotus) in Western Australia. Ecology 50: 1012-1030 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1972. Zoogeography and speciation of Australian desert lizards: an ecological perspective. Copeia 1972 (1): 127-144 - get paper here
  • Prates, I., Hutchinson, M. N., Singhal, S., Moritz, C., & Rabosky, D. L. 2023. Notes from the taxonomic disaster zone: Evolutionary drivers of intractable species boundaries in an Australian lizard clade (Scincidae: Ctenotus). Molecular Ecology, 00, 1–25
  • Punzo, Fred & Sonia Madragon 2002. Spatial learning in Australian skinks of the genus Ctenotus (Scincidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (2): 233-238 - get paper here
  • Rabosky DL, Hutchinson MN, Donnellan SC, Talaba AL, Lovette IJ 2014. Phylogenetic disassembly of species boundaries in a widespread group of Australian skinks (Scincidae: Ctenotus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 77: 71-82; doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.03.026 - get paper here
  • Rankin P R; Gillam M W 1979. A new lizard in the genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from the Northern Territory with notes on its biology. Rec. Austral. Mus. 32 (15): 501-511 - get paper here
  • Sadlier, Ross 1987. The scincid lizard Ctenotus brachyonyx Storr in N.S.W. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 17 (1-2): 22-24
  • 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
  • Storr G M 1969. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Eastern Division of Western Australia. J. Royal Soc. Western Australia 51: 97-109 - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1970. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Northern Territory. J. Royal Soc. Western Australia 52: 97-108 [1969] - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1978. Notes on the Ctenotus (Lacertilia, Scincidae) of Queensland. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6 (3): 319-332 - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1978. Ctenotus rubicundus, a new scincid lizard from Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6 (3): 333-335 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1971. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in South Australia. Rec. South Austral. Mus. 16 (6): 1-15 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1974. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the South-west and Eucla Divisions of Western Australia. J R. Soc. West. Aust. 56: 86-93 [1973]
  • Storr, G. M. 1975. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Kimberley and North-west Divisions of Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 3: 209-243 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M., Smith, L. A. & Johnstone, R. E. 1981. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Perth: University of Western Australia Press and Western Australian Museum, 200 pp.
  • Storr, G. M.; L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone 1999. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Western Australian Museum
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Virens, Josef; Robert A Davis, Tim S Doherty 2017. Two records of amelanism in the Australian skink Ctenotus fallens (Storr, 1974). Herpetology Notes 10: 453-455 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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