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Lampropholis elliotensis SINGHAL, HOSKIN, COUPER, POTTER & MORITZ, 2018

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Mt Elliot sunskink 
SynonymLampropholis elliotensis SINGHAL, HOSKIN, COUPER, POTTER & MORITZ 2018 
DistributionAustralia (coastal Queensland)

Type locality: Mt Elliot (19° 28' 55" S, 146° 59' E).  
TypesHolotype: QM J91382; Paratypes: QM J91386, J91116 Mt Elliot (19° 28' 55" S, 146° 59' E); QM J91385 Mt Elliot (19° 28' 58" S, 146° 59' 01" E); QM J52841, J52842, J52843, J52844 Mt Elliot (19° 29' S, 146° 57' E); QM J54810, J54811, J54812, J54813, J54814, J54815, J54816, J54817 Mt Elliot, summit (19° 30' S, 146° 57' E). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Lampropholis elliotensis sp. nov. is a small, dark-sided rainforest skink with pentadactyl limbs (usually separated by several scales rows when adpressed) and a movable lower eyelid containing a transparent disc (Fig. A1). It is reliably distinguished from its sibling species (L. similis sp. nov. and L. coggeri) by 17 nucleotide differences in the mitochondrial gene NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 that result in 15 amino acid differences among the species (Table A1).

Measurements and scale counts of holotype QM J91382: SVL 37.5 mm; AG 19.6 mm; L1 9.26 mm, L2 12mm; HL 6 mm; HW 5.3 mm; midbody scale rows 24; paravertebral scales 48; lamellae beneath fourth toe 22; supralabials 7; infralabials 6; supraciliaries 7.
Description: SVL 31.5–40.2 mm (n = 10, mean = 36.4); AG % SVL 48–57% SVL (n = 10, mean = 53%); L1 20–26% SVL (n = 10, mean = 23%); L2 31–37% SVL (n = 10, mean = 33%); HW 75– 88% HL (n = 10, mean = 80%). Body: Robust. Head and body continuous with almost no narrowing at neck. Snout rounded in profile. Limbs well-developed, pentadactyl, not meeting when adpressed (separated by several scale rows in adults). Scalation: Dorsal scales smooth (or with three to four faint striations) with a broadly curved posterior edge; nasals widely spaced; rostral and frontonasal in broad contact; prefrontals moderately to widely separated; frontal contacting frontonasal, prefrontals, first two supraoculars and frontoparietal; supraoculars four, second largest; supraciliaries seven, first largest; lower eyelid movable with small palpebral disc, about half the size of lower eyelid; ear opening round to vertically elliptic, subequal to or smaller than palpebral disc; frontoparietals fused, interparietal free; primary temporal single, secondary temporals two (upper largest and overlapping lower); loreals two (one in QM J91385), subequal or second largest; preoculars two, subequal or lower largest; presuboculars two (only one in QM J54817 and QM J91116), upper largest; supralabials seven with fifth below eye (or eight with sixth below eye QM J52842) and last supralabial overlapping lower secondary temporal and postsupralabials; postsupralabial divided; infralabials six (rarely seven, 2/15), two in contact with postmental; midbody scale rows 24–28 (n= 14, mode = 26); paravertebral scales (to the level of the posterior margin of the hindlimbs) 48–51 (n = 14, mode = 49); fourth toe longest, subdigital lamellae 19–24 (n = 14, mode = 21) with a single row of scales on the dorsal surface; outer preanal scales overlap inner preanals; three pairs of enlarged chin shields, first pair in contact, second pair separated by a single scale row, third pair separated by three scale rows.

Comparison with similar species: For separating this species from other members of the ‘L. coggeri’ group, see species account for L. similis sp. nov.
CommentHabitat: Usually found amongst leaf-litter in rocky situations. This species has not been recorded in lowland rainforest around Mt Elliot, despite considerable survey effort 
EtymologyRefers to Mt Elliot, the type locality. 
  • Singhal, Sonal; Conrad J Hoskin, Patrick Couper, Sally Potter, Craig Moritz 2018. A framework for resolving cryptic species: a case study from the lizards of the Australian Wet Tropics. Systematic Biology, syy026 - get paper here
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