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Dracaena guianensis DAUDIN, 1801

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Tupinambinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Northern Caiman Lizard, Guyana Caiman Lizard
Portuguese: Cabeça-Encarnada, Jacarerana, Jacaruxi, Jacuruxi, Lagarto-Jacaré 
SynonymDracaena guianensis DAUDIN 1801: 421
Teius crocodilurus MERREM 1820: 62
? Thorictes Dracaena — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 56
Dracaena guianensis — BOULENGER 1885: 338
Dracaena guianensis — VANZOLINI & VALENCIA 1966: 15
Dracaena guianensis — PETERS et al. 1970: 111
Dracaena guianensis — MASSARY et al. 2000
Dracaenea guianensis — GRINHAM 2020 (in error) 
DistributionBrazil (Amazonas, Maranhao, Amapa, Acre)
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Suriname ?, French Guiana

Type locality: “Cayenne” [French Guiana] (not “Amapa” fide MASSARY et al. 2000).  
TypesHolotype: RMNH 28888 (stuffed specimen) and MNHN-AC (comparative anatomy) 2002.0242 (head skull of the same stuffed specimen of Leiden) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Dracaena is the only genus of Teiidae with subterminal lenticular scale organs positioned atop the prominently keeled ventrals and a complete interangular sulcus containing small granular scales. The combination of two loreals, a laterally compressed tail, and heterogeneous dorsals consisting of large keeled scales surrounded by smaller scales immediately distinguishes Dracaena from all other Teiidae. 
CommentType species: Dracaena guianensis Daudin is the type species of the genus Dracaena Daudin 1801. Note that there is also a genus of trees of the same name.

Distribution: Apparently not present in NE-Brazil. Probably also in Bolivia (fide LANGSTROTH 2005). Reports from French Guiana may be erroneous (HOOGMOED & LESCURE 1975). Not in Guyana fide Cole et al. 2013: 471.

Synonymy mostly after Peters et al. 1970. DAUDIN apparently described the same specimen that has been mentioned by LACÉPÈDE (1788) as Lacerta Dracoena (fide PETERS & DONOSO-BARROS 1970). 
EtymologyNamed after its origin in French Guiana.

The generic name Dracaena is the Latin noun Dracaena meaning dragon or, less commonly, lizard. As discussed recently by Massary et al. (2000), Daudin (1801) based his description on the figure titled “La dragonne” and description of Lacerta dracæna by La Cepède (1788). Lacerta Dracaena also appears in Gmelin’s (1789) list along with a brief Latin description. Gmelin’s name would appear to be an available senior synonym of D. guianensis, albeit one that should be suppressed since it has not been used since the late 1700s. 
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  • Avila-Pires, T.C.S. 1995. Lizards of Brazilian Amazonia (Reptilia: Squamata). Zoologische Verhandelingen 299: 1-706 - get paper here
  • Avila-Pires, Teresa C.S.; Kleiton R. Alves-Silva, Laís Barbosa, Fabrício S. Correa, Jorge F. A. Cosenza, Ana Paula V. Costa-Rodrigues, Aurea A. Cronemberger, Marinus S. Hoogmoed, Geraldo R. Lima-Filho, Adriano O. Maciel, Alexandre F. R. Missassi, Lyw 2018. Changes in Amphibian and Reptile Diversity Over Time in Parque Estadual do Utinga, a Protected Area Surrounded by Urbanization. Herpetology Notes 11: 499-512 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
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  • Daudin, F. M. 1801. Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière des Reptiles; ouvrage faisant suit à l'Histoire naturell générale et particulière, composée par Leclerc de Buffon; et rédigee par C.S. Sonnini, membre de plusieurs sociétés savantes. Vol. 2. F. Dufart, Paris, 432 pp. [publication date fide Harper 1940] - get paper here
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  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
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  • Merrem, B. 1820. Versuch eines Systems der Amphibien I (Tentamen Systematis Amphibiorum). J. C. Kriegeri, Marburg, 191 pp. - get paper here
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  • Prudente, A.L.C.; F. Magalhães; A. Menks; J.F.M. Sarmento. 2013. Checklist of Lizards of the Juruti, state of Pará, Brazil. Check List 9 (1):42-50 - get paper here
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  • Vanzolini, P. E. 1961. Notas bionomicas sóbre Dracaena guianensis no Pará (Sauria, Teiidae). Papéis Avulsos Zoologia (São Paulo) 14 (25): 237-241 - get paper here
  • Vanzolini,P.E. & Valencia,J. 1966. The genus Dracaena, with a brief consideration of macroteiid relationships (Sauria, Teiidae). Arquivos de Zoologia 13 [1965]: 7-35 [1965]
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  • Werning, H. 2010. Ein Stück Natur im Wohnzimmer. Reptilia (Münster) 15 (84): 16-23 - get paper here
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