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Kaestlea travancorica (BEDDOME, 1870)

IUCN Red List - Kaestlea travancorica - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Travancore Ground Skink 
SynonymMocoa travancorica BEDDOME 1870: 34
Lygosoma travancoricum BOULENGER 1887: 261
Lygosoma travancoricum — HORA 1927: 5
Leiolopisma travancoricum — SMITH 1935: 304
Leiolopisma palnicum — SMITH 1935: 305
Scincella travancorica — GREER 1974
Scincella travancorica — OUBOTER 1986: 35
Scincella travancoricum— DAS 1996: 48
Kaestlea travancoricum — EREMCHENKO & DAS 2004
Scincella travancoricum — MURTHY 2010
Scincella travancorica — NGUYEN et al. 2012
Scincella travancoricum — BHUPATHY & SATISHKUMAR 2013 
DistributionSW India (Kerala, Travancore, Anaimalai and Palni Hills), up to 1525 m elevation. Roux (1928) recorded the species from the following localities: Kodaikanal, Pumbari, Vandavavu, Mariyanshola, Maryyand and Tandikudi, in Tamil Nadu and Kerala States, and Das and Whitaker (1990) found them near hill streams, within an evergreen forest in Vanjikadavu, Kerala State and Ishwar et al. (2001) reported this species from the Kalakad-Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

Type locality: Travancore Hills

palnica: Type locality: “Kodai-Kanal, Palni Hills, S-Indien”, Lectotype: SMF 14657 (= Kat. BOETTGER 6261, 1b = Kat. MERTENS 6261, 2a).  
Reproductionoviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.16.34, designated by Eremchenko & Das (2004) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A robust Scincella, with well-developed limbs. In some populations the frontoparietals are partly or completely united. Upper postocular wide. There is always a more or less distinct light dorsolateral stripe present (Ouboter 1986: 36).

Original description: “Supranasal shield none, the lower eyelid with a round transparent space, a single prefrontal is in contact with the rostral as well as the vertical; four superciliary shields with a row of very small shields between them and the eye; anterior occipital singie or rarely double, a diamond shaped shield between the upper part of the posterior pair of occipital; ear without tubercles or denticulations; vent with a pair of large anals subcaudals broad, scales in 22 longitudinal series ; limbs feeble, the fore legs extend nearly to the eye, the hind leg rather more than half way to the axils of the fore ; the fourth hind toe is a quarter or a little more shorter than the third; greeuish olive above, and very shining; a narrow black band sometimes broken into spots down the centre of the back, disappearing on the tail, and irregular or wanting on the neck ; sides blackish, belly pearl colored; tail bluish beneath, the black band down the back is sometimes entirely absent. Travancore hills and Wynaad.” (Beddome 1870)

Description: Boettger 1892: 72 
CommentSynonyms that of Ouboter (1986). Lygosoma laterimaculatum BOULENGER 1887 has been removed from thesynonymy of K. travancorica. 
EtymologyNamed after its type locality. 
  • Beddome, R.H. 1870. Descriptions of some new lizards from the Madras Presidency. Madras Monthly J. Med. Sci. 1: 30-35
  • Bhupathy, Subramanian & N. Sathishkumar 2013. Status of reptiles in Meghamalai and its environs, Western Ghats, Tamil Nadu, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 5 (15): 4953-4961 - get paper here
  • Boettger, O. 1892. Listen von Kriechtieren und Lurchen aus dem tropischen Asien und aus Papuasien. Ber. Tät. Offenb. Ver. Nat., Offenbach, 29 - 32: 65 - 164 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Das, Indraneil; Whitaker, Romulus 1990. Herpetological investigations in the western Ghats, South India. part I. The vanjikadavu and Nadukani forests, Kerala State. Hamadryad 15: 6-9 - 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
  • Hora, S.L. 1927. Notes on lizards in the Indian Museum. III. On the unnamed collection of lizards of the family Scincidae. Records of the Indian Museum 29: 1-6
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
  • Nguyen, Truong Quang; Natalia B. Ananjeva, Nikolai L. Orlov, Evgeny Rybaltovsky, and Wolfgang Böhme 2010. A New Species of the Genus Scincella Mittlemann, 1950 (Squamata: Scincidae) from Vietnam. Russ. J. Herpetol. 17 (4): 269-274 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Roux 1928. Revue Suisse de Zoologie xxxv: 452
  • 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.
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • 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
  • 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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