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Kaestlea bilineata (GRAY, 1846)

IUCN Red List - Kaestlea bilineata - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Two-lined Ground Skink 
SynonymMocoa bilineata GRAY 1846: 430
Eumeces bilineatus — GÜNTHER 1864
Lygosoma bilineatum — BOULENGER 1887: 259
Leiolopisma bilineatum — SMITH 1935: 306
Scincella bilineata — GREER 1974
Scincella bilineatum — DAS 1996: 48
Kaestlea bilineata — EREMCHENKO & DAS 2004 
DistributionIndia (Nilgiri Hills, Travancore Hills, Kerala)

Type locality: “Madras”, at present Chennai, Tamil Nadu, SE India (13° 5’ N, 80° 17’ E); restricted to “Summit of the Nilgiris” by EREMCHENKO & DAS 2004.  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.17.71, designated by Eremchenko & Das (2004) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): A member of Sphenomorphus group of lygosomine scincids and a derived member of the variegatus species-group (sensu Greer, 1974; 1979) showing similarities to the primarily Asian Scincella-like and Ablepharus-like species groups (genera: Asymblepharus and Scincella [sensu Eremchenko, 1987]), but differing from them in having the following combination of characters: A). Group II alpha palate (sensu Greer, 1974); lower eyelid with a clear window; nuchals and Group I temporal scales (Greer, 1974); two frontoparietals, or frontoparietal single; prefrontals small and separated; tympanum slightly or deeply sunk; limbs well-developed; scales around midbody 20-30; and middle neck and dorsum 26-41; four enlarged preanals, central pair larger than lateral pair. B). premaxillary teeth nine; pterygoid teeth rudimentary, 0-5; postorbitals present, elongated, thin; greater part of dorsal surface of digits with 1-2 rows of scales (Fig. 2) sharing characters with Group I and III (sensu Brongersma, 1942: Fig. 1b-d) fifth and sixth supralabial in midorbital position; size small, SVL to 62.0 mm; tail bright blue [EREMCHENKO & DAS 2004].

Diagnosis (species as Scincella bilineata). A Scincella with a somewhat elongated body and small limbs. The toes are short with a small number of subdigital lamellae: 9-11 under the fourth finger, 15-18 under the fourth toe. A small number o f scales above the eye: six supraciliars, 7-9 ciliars. Four preanals are enlarged (the central pair more than the lateral pair). The light dorsolateral stripe is absent or hardly visible (Ouboter 1986: 39). 
CommentSynonymy mostly that of OUBOTER (1986).

Type Species: Mocoa bilineata GRAY 1846 is the type species of the genus Kaestlea EREMCHENKO & DAS 2004. 
EtymologyApparently named after the two dorsal stripes in this species.

The name of the new genus honours Professor Werner Kästle (1926-2019), German herpetologist, co-editor of the volume ‘Amphibians and reptiles of Nepal.’ (2002), among many other publications. For a brief biography see Kabisch 2019. 
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Eremchenko, V. K & I. Das 2004. Kaestlea: a new genus of scincid lizards (Scincidae: Lygosominae) from the Western Ghats, south-western India. Hamadryad 28 (1&2): 43-50 - get paper here
  • Ganesh, S.R.; S. Bhupathy, P. Karthik, G. Babu Rao & S. Babu 2020. Catalogue of herpetological specimens from peninsular India at the Sálim Ali Centre for Ornithology & Natural History (SACON), India. JoTT 12 (9): 16123–16135 - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1846. Descriptions of some new species of Indian Lizards. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 18: 429-430 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Kabisch, K. 2019. Nachruf auf Werner Kästle. Elaphe 2019 (4): 94
  • Ouboter P E 1986. A revision of the genus Scincella (Reptilia: Sauria: Scincidae) of Asia, with some notes on its evolution. Zoologische Verhandelingen (229): 1-66 - get paper here
  • Palot, M.J. 2015. A checklist of reptiles of Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(13): 8010–8022 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M. and Allen E. Greer 2002. From Sphenomorphus to Lipinia: Generic reassignment of two poorly known New Guinea skinks. Journal of Herpetology 36 (2): 148-156 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Venugopal, P.D. 2010. An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (3): 725-738. - get paper here
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