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Insulasaurus traanorum (LINKEM, DIESMOS & BROWN, 2010)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymSphenomorphus traanorum LINKEM, DIESMOS & BROWN 2010
Insulasaurus traanorum — LINKEM, DIESMOS & BROWN 2011 
DistributionPhilippines (Palawan)

Type locality: Philippines, Palawan Island, Palawan Province, Municipality of Rizal, 2.5 km W and 0.7 km S Mt. Mantalingahan peak, 1550 m (8.8126° N, 117.6587° E).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: PNM 9640 (formerly KU 311442: DSB 4816): Female, collected 24 June 2007 by D. S. Balete.
Paratypes.—KU 311423 (ELR1553), PNM 9641 (KU 311424, ELR 1569): Philippines, Palawan Island, Palawan Province, Municipality of Rizal, Mt. Paray-Paray, 1593 m (8.8113889° N, 117.670000° E). Collected 3 July 2007, Male. KU 311440 (DSB 4769), KU 311443 (DSB 4848), KU 311441 (DSB 4772): Philippines, Palawan Island, Palawan Province, Municipality of Rizal, Mt. Mantalingahan ‘‘peak 2,’’ 2068 m (8.8125° N, 117.6608° E), KU 311424 and KU 311440: male; KU 311423, KU 311443, and KU 311441: female. Specimens collected by U. D. Carestia, H. J. D. Garcia, and D. S. Balete. KU 311423 has been cleared and double-stained. 
CommentDiagnosis.—Sphenomorphus traanorum can be identified by the following combination of characters: (1) a medium body size (SVL at maturity 48–53 mm); (2) MBSR [midbody scale rows] = 29–33; (3) PVSR [paravertebral
scale rows] = 62–69; (4) scales nonstriated and lacking apical pits; (5) four enlarged supraoculars; (6) anterior and posterior loreals undivided laterally, or anterior loreal laterally divided; (7) three preoculars; (8) prefrontals in broad contact; (9) and 15–17 Toe IV SDL [subdigital lamellae on Toe IV]. On the basis of scale counts and osteology, we place Sphenomorphus traanorum into Group IV of Brown and Alcala (1980) and the S. variegatus Group of Greer and Parker (1967a). Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from species in the S. variegatus Group by the following: MBSR = 29–33 in S. traanorum distinguishes it from S. amblyplacodes (41), S. annectens (50), S. anomalopus (38), S. concinnatus (40), S. dussumieri (40), S. florense (44–50), S. granulatus (36), S. haasi (41, 42), S. incognitus (36–40), S. jobiense (38–46), S. lineopunctulatus (38), S. maculatus (38–42), S. mimikanus (40), S. misolense (42), S. nigrolabris (40–50), S. sarasinorus (44–46), S. simus (40), S. striolatus (40), S. taylori (53– 61), S. tropidonotus (42–44), and S. wolfi (38– 42); SDL on Toe IV 5 15–17 in Sphenomorphus traanorum distinguishes it from S. aignanus (40–42), S. amblyplacodes (27), S. annectens (21), S. concinnatus (22–25), S. dussumieri (20–25), S. florense (27–29), S. granulatus (20), S. incognitus (18–20), S. jobiense (18–29), S. lineopunctulatus (22), S. milnense (35–37), S. misolense (22), S. nigrolabris (20–27), S. sanctus (25–30), S. sarasinorus (22–24), S. simus (25), S. striolatus (26), S. taylori (27–35), S. tropidonotus (27), and S. wolfi (22–25); supraoculars four in S. traanorum distinguishes it from S. aignanus (5), S. amblyplacodes (5), S. annectens (9), S. florense (6, 7), S. granulatus (7), S. haasi (6), S. indicus (6), S. jobiense (5), S. maculatus (5), S. milnense (5), S. mimikanus (7), S. misolense (7), S. nigrolabris (6), S. sanctus (5), S. sarasinorus (7, 8), S. simus (6), S. striolatus (7), S. taylori (5–7), and S. tropidonotus (6); an SVL between 48–53.2 mm distinguishes S. traanorum from the larger species S. aignanus (80 mm), S. amblyplacodes (90 mm), S. anomalopus (70 mm), S. concinnatus (62 mm), S. dussumieri (59 mm), S. florense (71 mm), S. incognitus (77 mm), S. indicus (80 mm), S. jobiense (87 mm), S. maculatus (63 mm), S. milnense (61–68 mm), S. mimikanus (90 mm), S. nigrolabris (62–91 mm), S. sarasinorus (52–74 mm), S. simus (56 mm), S. taylori (147 mm), S. tropidonotus (61 mm), and from the smaller species S. granulatus (45 mm) and S. misolense (37–45 mm). Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from Bornean Sphenomorphus by the following: PV = 62–69 in S. traanorum distinguishes it from S. bukitensis (73–74), S. kinabaluensis (80–89), S. maculicollus (79), S. multisquamatus (74–78), S. murudensis (71), and S. sabanus (84–95); MBSR = 29–33 distinguishes Sphenomorphus traanorum from S. buttikoferi (24), S. cyanolaemus (40), S. multisquamatus (40–49), and S. tanahtinggi (40–42); broad contact of the prefrontals (vs. no contact) distinguishes it from S. aesculeticola, S. crassa, and S. maculicollus; contact of the parietals with the supraoculars (vs. occlusion of contact by lateral parietal) distinguishes it from S. hallieri; a SVL of 48–53.2mmdistinguishes S. traanorum from the much smaller species S. aesculeticola (35–43 mm), S. bukitensis (40.5– 44 mm), S. butleri (34–44 mm), S. buttikoferi (35mm), and S. maculicollus (47mm); and from the larger species S. crassa (82 mm), S. multisquamatus (60–69 mm), and S. sabanus (58 mm); SDL on Toe IV between 15 and 17 distinguishes S. traanorum from S. aesculeticola (6–10), S. bukitensis (12–13), S. butleri (12–13), S. buttikoferi (21–23), S. crassa (18–19), S. cyanolaemus (18), S. hallieri (10–15), S. maculicollus (18–23), S. sabanus (18–22), and S. stellatus (19). Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from the two species in Philippine Group I (S. beyeri and S. diwata) by the presence of PVSR = 62–69 (vs. PVSR . 90), by the presence of large shield-like temporal scales (vs. small, undifferentiated temporal scales), and by having fewer MBSR (29–33 vs. . 40). The new species can be distinguished from Philippine Group II (S. atrigularis, S. biparietalis, S. lawtoni, S. luzonensis, S. steerei, and S. tagapayo) by larger SVL at maturity (vs. SVL , 50 mm), Toe IV SDL 5 15–17 (vs. Toe IV SDL , 13, except S. lawtoni, which has SDL up to 15), and by having a greater relative hind limb length (HLL / AGD . 0.19 vs. HLL / AGD , 0.18). Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from species in Philippine Group III and IV by the following: MBSR 5 29–33 distinguishes S. traanorum from S. arborens (36–39), S. cumingi (48–54), S. laterimaculatus (39), and S. variegatus (38–44); PVSR 5 62–69 distinguishes it from S. acutus (51–61), S. cumingi (75–87), and S. laterimaculatus (78). The presence of broad prefrontal contact, fewer Toe IV SDL and 1 or 2 anterior loreals distinguishes S. traanorum from S. mindanensis. Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from S. leucospilos and S. decipiens by the presence of a divided frontoparietal scale (vs. a fused frontoparietal scale); further from S. leucospilos by having a wider head (HW / HL . 0.66 vs. HW / HL , 0.60) and a broader snout, obtusely rounded vs. acutely pointed; coloration of S. leucospilos is very different from S. traanorum, with large white spots on the dorsal and lateral surface of the body and a dark brown ground color, gular region bluish, S. traanorum lacks white spots and only has gular coloration (possible blue in life) in males. In addition to the difference in frontoparietal scales, S. traanorum can be further distinguished from S. decipiens by its greater adult SVL (vs. 31–45 mm) and lack of vertebral spots (vs. line of small spots down vertebral column). The new species differs from other Sphenomorphus on Palawan Island by the following: from S. wrighti by the presence of 15–17 Toe IV lamellae (vs. 22–25), by the presence of a uniform dorsal coloration (vs. dark spots along the vertebral column), the presence of a uniform coloration on the flanks (vs. black and white mottling on the flanks), a shorter length (SVL = 48–53.2 mm vs. SVL = 54–64 mm), and by the presence of chin mottling in females (vs. ivory colored chin in males and females). Sphenomorphus traanorum can be distinguished from S. victoria by the presence of 15–17 Toe IV lamellae (vs. 18–21), the presence of a uniform dorsal coloration (vs. dark spots along the vertebral column), and by having a broken or missing dorsolateral band (vs. a solid, broad, dorsolateral band extending from the nuchal region to tail; Fig. 1). The new species differs from Parvoscincus palawanensis (formerly Sphenomorphus palawanensis) by the presence of an external tympanum (vs. scaled over tympanum), larger body size (SVL 5 48–53.2 mm vs. SVL 5 29.7 mm), greater number of Toe IV SDL, MBSR and PVSR. See Table 1 for a complete list of character differences between Sphenomorphus traanorum and its phenotypic congeners [from LINKEM et al. 2010].

SVL: ca. 51 mm 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the term Traan, meaning ‘‘people in scattered places,’’ which is used by Palawanon tribes in reference to their ancestral tradition of living in small houses in the uplands of Palawan Island, separated by forest and shifting agricultural plots. This tradition is the predominant practice of tribal groups living at the type locality of the new species. 
References
  • Brown, R.M. et al. 2010. Species boundaries in Philippine montane forest skinks (Genus Sphenomorphus): three new species from the mountains of Luzon and clarification of the status of the poorly known S. beyeri, S. knollmanae, and S. laterimaculatus. Scient. Pap. Nat. Hist. Mus. Univ. Kansas (42): 1-27
  • Linkem, C.W.; Diesmos, A.C.; Brown, R.M. 2010. A NEW SPECIES OF SCINCID LIZARD (GENUS SPHENOMORPHUS) FROM PALAWAN ISLAND, PHILIPPINES. Herpetologica 66 (1): 67–79 - get paper here
  • Linkem, Charles W.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Rafe M. Brown 2011. Molecular systematics of the Philippine forest skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Sphenomorphus): testing morphological hypotheses of interspecific relationships. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 163: 1217–1243
 
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