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Flexiseps meva MIRALLES, RASELIMANANA, RAKOTOMALALA, VENCES & VIEITES, 2011

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAmphiglossus meva MIRALLES, RASELIMANANA, RAKOTOMALALA, VENCES & VIEITES 2011
Flexiseps meva — ERENS et al. 2017 
DistributionNE Madagascar (Mahajanga)

Type locality: western portion of the Makira plateau, close to a campsite locally named Angozongahy, at 15°26'13.3''S 49°07'07.0''E, 1009 m above sea level, district of Mandrit- sara, region of Sofia, province of Mahajanga, northeastern Madagascar  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MNCN 44648 (field no. ZCMV 11324), collected by D.R. Vieites, M. Vences, F. Ratsoavina and R.-D. Randrianiaina on 28 June 2009. The holotype is in a good state of preservation; it was fixed and pre- served in alcohol. At the time of preservation the specimen was shedding, which explains the somewhat faded coloration. Paratypes: MNCN, ZSM, UADBA 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A member of the phenetic Amphiglossus/Madascincus group which differs (1) from the Malagasy genera in the subfamily Lygosominae (Cryptoblepharus and Trachylepis) by the presence of entirely movable and scaly eyelids (versus fused immovable eyelids forming spectacles over the eyes in Cryptoblepharus; or movable eyelids with a translucent disk or window in the lower eyelid in Trachylepis), absence of prefrontals (present in both Cryptoblepharus and Trachylepis), and lack of frontoparietal scales (present in Trachylepis); (2) from all the other Malagasy scincine genera by the presence of four legs.
Within the Amphiglossus/Madascincus group, it is placed in the lineage called Amphiglossus (sensu Crottini et al. 2009) by molecular data. Within Amphiglossus, it is distinguished from all the other species by a combination of (1) a relatively large size (SVL of adults from 126 to 150 mm); (2) a characteristic pattern of coloration with dark/ grey dorsum contrasting with bright orange to yellowish flanks and ventrum, including the ventral side of the tail; (3) absence of a postnasal scale; (4) presubocular frequently absent, (5) presence of a single elongated tertiary tem- poral bordering lower secondary temporal.
Among large-sized Amphiglossus (A. astrolabi, A. reticulatus, A. ardouini, A. mandokava, A. crenni), the new species can be distinguished from the superficially similar Amphiglossus astrolabi (see fig. 4A, 5A–D) by showing significantly shorter fingers and toes with lower numbers of lamellae under fourth finger (6–8 versus 10–13) and fourth toe (11–13 versus 15–21); a smaller size (SVL max = 150 mm versus 226 mm); more compact head; a lower number of ventrals (91–96 versus 99–113); absence of postnasal; presubocular frequently absent (versus always present, most often two on each sides). From A. reticulatus (see fig. 5E–H) it can be distinguished by showing significantly shorter limbs in proportion to body size; smaller size (SVL max = 150 mm versus 212 mm); a less prom- inent parietal area and more compact head; a lower number of ventral scales (91–96 versus 95–108) and of scale rows around midbody (32–36 versus 39–41); absence of postnasal; by the uniform dark dorsal and light ventral col- oration (versus complex patterns). From A. ardouini it differs by the absence of postnasals (versus presence), a higher number of scale rows around midbody (32–36 versus 31–33), shorter fingers with a lower number of lamel- lae under fourth finger (6–8 versus 7–10) and toe (9–13 versus 17–21), a uniform dark dorsal and light ventral col- oration (versus complex patterns, including dark transversal dark stripes in the anterior part of body). From A. mandokava it differs by the absence of postnasals (versus present), a lower number of ventrals (91–96 versus 103– 120) and paravertebrals (95–101 versus 129–141), by the uniform dark dorsal and light ventral coloration (versus complex patterns, including dark transversal dark stripes in the anterior part of body). From A. crenni (see fig. 4B, 6), it differs by the absence of postnasals (versus presence); a more compact body with 32–36 scales around mid- body (versus a slender elongated body with 26–28 scales around mid-body), and pentadactyl limbs (versus extremely reduced limbs, usually with two toes and two fingers, but sometimes with up to four). See also table 2 for a summary of morphological characteristics of the new species. Furthermore, the new species differs from all Amphiglossus and Madascincus species for which DNA sequences were available, by high sequence divergences in mitochondrial and nuclear genes (see MIRALLES et al. 2011). 
Comment 
EtymologyMeva, pronounced “mæva or mœva”, is a Malagasy word used to express beauty and refers to the splendid bicoloration of this skink. It is used as a noun in apposition. 
References
  • 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
  • GARCÍA-DÍEZ, TERESA; JOSÉ E. GONZÁLEZ-FERNÁNDEZ 2013. The reptile type specimens preserved in the Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales (CSIC) of Madrid, Spain. Zootaxa 3619 (1): 046–058 - 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
 
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