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Flexiseps melanurus (GÜNTHER, 1877)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesSpotted Skink [poecilopus: Toamasina Skink] 
SynonymGongylus melanurus GÜNTHER 1877: 314
Sepsina melanura — BARBOUR 1918: 484
Scelotes poecilopus BARBOUR & LOVERIDGE 1928: 65
Scelotes poecilopus — ANGEL 1942: 130
Scelotes melanurus — ANGEL 1942: 134
Amphiglossus melanurus — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 318
Amphiglossus poecilopus — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 318
Amphiglossus melanurus — ANDREONE & GREER 2002
Amphiglossus poecilopus — SCHMITZ et al. 2005
Amphiglossus melanurus — SCHMITZ et al. 2005
Amphiglossus melanurus — MIRALLES et al. 2011
Flexiseps melanurus — ERENS et al. 2017 
DistributionS and CE Madagascar

Type locality: Anzahamaru, Madagascar  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.20.94, purch. by Mr. Geale. Designated by Brygoo, 1984.
Holotype: MCZ 21255 [poecilopus] 
DiagnosisDescription (poecilopus). Snout subcuneiform, not, or scarcely, projecting beyond the lower jaw; eye moderate; lower eyelid with seven semi-opaque scales; ear opening small, horizontal; supranasals forming a median suture; nostril pierced between the rostral and vestigial nasal which is reduced to a narrow but well-defined rim; postnasal occupies all the space between the supranasal and first labial; frontal almost twice as long as the fronto-nasal, much longer than broad; no prefrontals; six supraoculars, the second causing a very slight indentation of the frontal; five or six supra-ciliaries: broad. no frontoparietals; wedge-shaped interparietal longer than its anterior edge much narrower than the frontal, into which its convex. almost obtusely angular, edge fits; seven upper labials, the fourth much the largest and entering the orbit. Twenty-four scales around the body. Limbs pentadactyle, weak, widely separated when adpressed; the fore limb, when stretched forward, covers only two thirds its distance from the ear; digits and toes well developed; the first toe shortest, less than half the length of third, fourth toe longest, twice the length of second. Tail much longer than the length from snout to vent. (Barbour & Loveridge 1928)

Color (poecilopus, in alcohol). Above, superficially bronzy, the light straw-colored scales each having a reddish brown spot which, in the centre of the back, almost excludes the lighter edges of the scales. Beneath, immaculate buffy white, shading to brown on apex of lower jaw and to pinkish on the tail. (Barbour & Loveridge 1928)

Comparisons (with macrocercus): Andreone & Greer 2002: 170 
CommentGreer et al. synonymized A. poecilopus with A. melanurus [F. Glaw, pers. comm.]

Type species: Gongylus melanurus GÜNTHER 1877: 314 is the type species of the genus Flexiseps ERENS et al. 2017. 
  • Andreone F., Randrianirina J., Jenkins P.D. & Aprea G. 2000. Species diversity of Amphibia, Reptilia and Lipotyphla (Mammalia) at Ambolokopatrika, a rainforest between the Anjanaharibe-Sud and Marojejy massifs, NE Madagascar. Biodiversity and Conservation 9: 1587–1622 - get paper here
  • Andreone, F. & Greer, A.E. 2002. Malagasy scincid lizards: descriptions of nine new species, with notes on the morphology, reproduction and taxonomy of some previously described species (Reptilia, Squamata: Scincidae). Journal of Zoology 258, 139-181 - get paper here
  • Angel, F. 1942. Les Lézards de Madagascar. Mem. Acad. Malagache, Tananarive XXXVI: 193 pp.
  • Barbour, Thomas 1918. Vertebrata from Madagascar. 2. Amphibia and Reptilia. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 61 (14): 479-489. - get paper here
  • Barbour, Thomas & Loveridge, Arthur 1928. New skinks of the genus Scelotes from Mozambique and Madagascar. Proc. New England Zoological Club 10: 63-65
  • Brygoo,E.R. 1984. Systématique des lézards scincides de la région malgache. XII. Le groupe d'espèces Gongylus melanurus GÜNTHER 1877, G. gastrostictus O'SHAUGHNESSY 1879, et G. macrocercus GÜNTHER 1892. Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris, 4th ser., Sect. A., 6 (1): 131-148
  • Crottini, Angelica; Janina Dordel, Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw, Andreas Schmitz, Miguel Vences 2009. A multilocus phylogeny of Malagasy scincid lizards elucidates the relationships of the fossorial genera Androngo and Cryptoscincus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53 (1): 345-350 - get paper here
  • D’Cruze, N.; Köhler, J.; Franzen, M & Glaw, F. 2008. A conservation assessment of the amphibians and reptiles of the Forêt d’Ambre Special Reserve, north Madagascar. MADAGASCAR CONSERVATION & DEVELOPMENT 3 (1): 44-54 - get paper here
  • Erens, Jesse; Aurélien Miralles, Frank Glaw, Lars Chatrou, Miguel Vences 2016. Extended molecular phylogenetics and revised systematics of Malagasy scincine lizards. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • Günther, A. 1877. Descriptions of some new Species of Reptiles from Madagascar. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 19: 313-317. - get paper here
  • MIRALLES, AURÉLIEN, ACHILLE P. RASELIMANANA, DOMOINA RAKOTOMALALA, MIGUEL VENCES & DAVID R. VIEITES 2011. A new large and colorful skink of the genus Amphiglossus from Madagascar revealed by morphology and multilocus molecular study. Zootaxa 2918: 47–67 - get paper here
  • Schmitz, A.; M.C. Brandley; P. Mausfeld; M. Vences; F. Glaw; R.A. Nussbaum and T.W. Reeder 2005. Opening the black box: phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the Malagasy fossorial lizards of the subfamily “Scincinae”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 118–133 (published online 2004) - get paper here
  • Whiting, A.S.; Jack W. Sites, Jr. & Aaron M. Bauer 2004. Molecular phylogenetics of Malagasy skinks (Squamata: Scincidae). African Journal of Herpetology 53(2): 135-146 - get paper here
  • Wiens, J.J.; Brandley, M.C.; Reeder, T.W. 2006. Why does a trait evolve multiple times within a clade? Repeated evolution of snakelike body form in squamate reptiles. Evolution 60 (1): 123-141. - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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