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Echinosaura brachycephala KÖHLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ, 2004

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards) 
Common Names 
SynonymEchinosaura brachycephala KÖHLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ 2004 

Type locality: Las Pampas (= San Francisco de las Pampas, 0° 25’ 60’’ S, 78° 58’ 0’’ W, 1275 m elevation)  
TypesHolotype: MHNG 2359.77 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A medium-sized species (SVL in largest specimen 78.0 mm) of the genus Echinosaura that differs from all other species of this genus by the number of ventral scales per caudal segment (four scales per caudal segment in E. brachycephala vs. three scales in the other species (except E. orcesi which has 5-6 scales per caudal segment) and the relative size of the postmental scale (postmental scale reduced or absent in E. brachycephala, not reaching beyond one-third of first infralabial vs. postmental not reduced, always reaching well beyond one-half of first infralabial in the other species). It differs also by its relatively short snout (ratio snout length/SVL 0.06-0.07 in E. brachycephala vs. 0.07-0.09 in the other species). It can be readily distinguished from E. horrida by its dorsal scalation (2-6 scales between longitudinal rows of tubercles in E. brachycephala vs. longitudinal rows of tubercles juxtaposed in E. horrida) and the absence of a conspicuous pale band across chin (present in E. horrida). Echinosaura brachycephala is further differentiated from E. palmeri and E. panamensis by having a single internasal (divided in E. palmeri and E. panamensis) and the number of infralabials (three in E. brachycephala vs. 4-5 in E. palmeri and E. panamensis). Echinosaura brachycephala can be further distinguished from Echinosaura orcesi by having a lower femoral pore count (males: 7-9 in E. brachycephala vs. 14-15 in E. orcesi; females: 1-2 in E. brachycephala vs. 5-6 in E. orcesi). Also, E. orcesi lacks continuous rows of tubercles in the paravertebral area of the dorsum (present in E. brachycephala). Echinosaura brachycephala differs from the only species in the presumably closely related genus Teuchocercus, T. keyi, by its different caudal scalation (tail with only small conical scales in E. brachycephala vs. tail bearing conspicuous whorls of spines in T. keyi), the number of ventral scales per caudal segment (four scales per caudal segment in E. brachycephala vs. three scales in T. keyi) and by the absence of granular scales covering all of the tympanum (present in T. keyi although this is variable with adults having more extensive coverage than juveniles but always discernable; in some E. brachycephala there are granular scales in the periphery of the tympanum). Also, most T. keyi have 2-4 scales separating the paravertebral rows (usually 4-6, rarely two, in E. brachycephala), usually paired internasals (single in E. brachycephala) and some individuals have prefrontals (absent in most E. brachycephala). Most individuals of T. keyi have pale markings on the base of the tail (absent in adult E. brachycephala but usually present in juveniles). 
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. - get paper here
  • Köhler, G.; Böhme, W. & Schmitz, A. 2004. A new species of Echinosaura (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) from Ecuador. Journal of Herpetology 38 (1): 52-60 - get paper here
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