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Ctenotus vagus HORNER, 2009

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesUneven-striped Ctenotus 
SynonymCtenotus vagus HORNER 2009
Ctenotus vagus — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (N Western Australia: N/SE Kimberley region)

Type locality: Purnululu (Bungle Bungle) National Park, Western Australia, 17°19’00”S 128°27’00”E.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: WAM R103008, adult female. Collected by N. Gambold on 16 June 1989. 
CommentDiagnosis: A moderately small member (SVL to 43.9 mm) of the C. atlas species group, distinguished from congeners by having three of four supraoculars in contact with frontal, frontoparietals paired, eight supralabials, laterally compressed toes with callose or obtusely keeled subdigital lamellae, prominent pale mid-lateral stripe, dark ground colour with ten or more pale stripes on body, dark vertebral stripe, unpatterned dark upper lateral zone and poorly defined dorsal stripes.

Comparison with other species Ctenotus vagus sp. nov. is distinguished from most congeners by being medium sized, having compressed digits, callose subdigital lamellae and a simple body pattern of dark ground colour with 10–12 whitish longitudinal stripes. In combination, these characters place it in the C. atlas species-group (Table 3). From most species group co-members it may be distinguished by body pattern and disjunct distribution. Only C. atlas, C.d. decaneurus, C. d. yampiensis, C. iapetus and C. impar share 10–12 pale stripes and an unspotted upper lateral zone and only C. d. decaneurus, C. d. yampiensis, C. halysis sp. nov. and C. piankai share a Kimberley region distribution. Further distinguished from C. ariadnae, C. atlas, C. dux, C. iapetus, C. piankai and C. quattuordecimlineatus by having prefrontal shields separated rather than in contact. Also differs from C. ariadnae, C. atlas and C. dux by having fewer midbody scale rows (26 instead of 28 or more) and from C. iapetus by having fewer fourth toe subdigital lamellae (22–24 instead of 25–28). From C. alacer, C. halysis sp. nov., C. xenopleura and C. zastictus by having an unpatterned upper lateral zone instead of an upper lateral series of spots or streaks. Also differs from C. alacer, C. halysis sp. nov. and C. xenopleura by having fewer midbody scale rows (26 instead of 28 or more). From C. rawlinsoni by having fewer fourth toe subdigital lamellae (22–24 instead of 33–34). From C. duricola by having fewer midbody scale rows (26 instead of 28 or more). From C. storri by having more supralabial scales (8 instead of 6–7) and from C. impar by having a dark rather than pale vertebral stripe and by having more supralabial scales (8 instead of 7). Ctenotus vagus sp. nov. is most easily confused with C. decaneurus, but is distinguished from both C. d. decaneurus and C. d. yampiensis by brown rather than black ground colour and less defined body pattern, in which the pale dorsal and laterodorsal stripes are relatively narrow and indistinct, brownish-cream rather than white and less continuous. Further differs from C. d. decaneurus by having more fourth toe subdigital lamellae (23 instead of 21) and longer hindlimbs (51.1% instead of 43.4% of SVL) and from C. d. yampiensis by having fewer midbody scale rows (26 instead of 28) and more fourth toe subdigital lamellae (23 instead of 21). 
EtymologyFrom the Latin adjective vâgus, meaning inconstant, unsteady or vague; in reference to the condition of this taxon’s pale dorsal and laterodorsal stripes which, in relation to adjacent pale paravertebral and dorsolateral stripes, are poorly defined. 
References
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Horner, P. 2009. Three new species of Ctenotus (Reptilia: Sauria: Scincidae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, with comments on the status of Ctenotus decaneurus yampiensis. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 25 (2): 181-199 - 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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