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Epibator insularis SADLIER, DEBAR, CHAVIS, BAUER, JOURDAN & JACKMAN, 2019

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymEpibator insularis SADLIER, DEBAR, CHAVIS, BAUER, JOURDAN & JACKMAN 2019 
DistributionNew Caledonia (Île Walpole)

Type locality: New Caledonia, Île Walpole, 22° 360 13.0000 S, 168° 560 46.000 E (datum WGS84 via Google Earth)  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA- 2017.0100 (formerly AMS R.175568), collected by Leo Debar 15–22 May 2013. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Epibator insularis n. sp. can be distinguished from E. nigrofasciolatus and E. greeri, the only other members of the genus, by the combination of the following features of morphology: prefrontal scales narrowly separated; midbody scale rows 39; dorsal scale rows 91; a predominately dark color pattern on the anterior part of body, including the head, with little or no obvious transverse pattern to the dark dorsal coloration; and a pale lemon-yellow color to the ventral surface.
Epibator insularis n. sp. is readily distinguished from E. greeri in features of scalation (Table 1) in having more midbody scale rows (39 versus 34) and more dorsal scale rows (91 versus 74), and in having the prefrontals narrowly separated versus contacting. It is further distinguished in coloration in having an obscure and irregular (versus bold and regular) arrangement to the dark markings across the dorsal surface of the body. In scalation the values for all meristic characters for Epibator insularis n. sp. fall within the range observed for a broad dataset of specimens of E. nigrofasciolatus (Table 1) and both species have the prefrontal scales separated, as such the two species are at this time are distinguished primarily on coloration. Epibator nigrofasciolatus from the Grande Terre typically have the dark markings on the dorsal surface of the anterior part of the body (either side of the shoulders) arranged to form regular transverse bars (Figure 6A and 6C) and often interrupted medially by a dark streak down the center of the back (the dark transverse dorsal markings of nigrofasciolatus from the Îles Loyauté are present anteriorly although muted in some individuals but the dark median streak between the shoulders is usually absent). The head of Epibator nigrofasciolatus is typically uniform brown, ocasionally with some dark flecks at suture lines. By comparison, the area of the dorsal surface of the body either side of the shoulders in Epibator insularis n. sp. is predominately dark with little definable pattern of transverse bars anteriorly (Figures 3A and 5) and no dark median streak between the shoulders, and most dorsal head shields have extensive dark markings (Figures 4A, 4B, and 5 inset). Further, the ventral surface of Epibator nigrofasciolatus is typically lime-green in coloration (Figure 6B), although the intensity is variable and paler in some individuals, whereas the venter of E. insularis n. sp. is pale lemonyellow (Figure 3B) but also variable and paler in some individuals. 
Comment 
EtymologyThe epithet is an adjective in the masculine genitive meaning pertaining to an island and referring to its restriction to Île Walpole. 
References
  • Sadlier, Ross A.; Léo Debar, Mikhail Chavis, Aaron M. Bauer, Hervé Jourdan, Todd R. Jackman 2019. Epibator insularis, a New Species of Scincid Lizard from l’Île Walpole, New Caledonia. Pacific Science 73 (1): 143-161, doi:10.2984/73.1.7 - get paper here
 
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