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Lampropholis robertsi INGRAM, 1991

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesGrey-bellied Sunskink 
SynonymLampropholis robertsi INGRAM 1991: 443
Lampropholis robertsi — COGGER 2000: 759
Ndurascincus robertsi — WELLS 2002
Lampropholis robertsi — COUPER et al. 2006: 381
Lampropholis robertsi — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Lampropholis robertsi — SINGHAL et al. 2018 
DistributionAustralia (NE Queensland, restricted to Thornton Peak and the uplands of the Carbine Tableland, e.g., Mt Lewis, Mt Spurgeon)

Type locality: Thornton Pk, via Daintree, NEQ (16°10'S, 145°23'E).  
TypesHolotype: QM J43911 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A large Lampropholis with dark flanks and prominent spotting on the posterior ventral surfaces, a row of dark edged pale spots on underside of tail. This species is reliably distinguished from its closest congener (L. bellendenkerensis sp. nov. ) by 14 nucleotide differences in the mitochondrial gene NADH dehydrogenase 4 that result in nine amino acid differences between the species (Table A2 in Singhal et al. 2018).

Measurements and scale counts of holotype QM J43911: SVL 45.3 mm; AG 22.9; L1 12.0 mm; L2 15.9 mm; HL 8.41 mm; HW 6.0 mm; midbody scale rows 28; paravertebral scales 53; lamellae beneath fourth toe 26; supralabials 7; infralabials 6; supraciliaries 7.

Description: SVL 36.6–51.45 mm (n = 17, mean = 44.35); AG % SVL 46–54% SVL (n = 17, mean = 50%); L1 26–32% (n = 17, mean = 29%); L2 34–43% SVL (n = 17, mean = 38%); HW 69– 79% HL (n = 17, mean = 73%). Body: Robust. Head and body continuous with almost no narrowing at neck. Snout rounded in profile. Limbs well-developed, pentadactyl, meeting or narrowly separated when adpressed. Scalation: Dorsal 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 usually largest but sometimes subequal to third or fourth; lower eyelid movable with small palpebral disc, less than half the size of lower eyelid; ear opening round to vertically elliptic, subequal to palpebral disc; frontoparietals fused, interparietal free; primary temporal single, secondary temporals two (upper largest and overlapping lower); loreals two, subequal or second largest; preoculars two, lower largest; presuboculars two, upper largest; supralabials seven with fifth below eye (eight in QM J55833, with sixth below eye), and last overlapping lower secondary temporal and postsupralabials; postsupralabial divided; infralabials six (seven in QM J55833 and J56464) two in contact with postmental; midbody scale rows 26–28 (n = 23, mode = 26); paravertebral scales (to the level of the posterior margin of the hindlimbs) 49–54 (n = 21, mode = 54); fourth toe longest, subdigital lamellae 21–26 (n = 21, mode = 23) 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: Lampropholis robertsi and L. bellendenkerensis sp. nov. cannot be separated using morphological characters. They are distinguished genetically by 13 nucleotide differences in the mitochondrial gene NADH dehydrogenase 4 that result in nine amino acid differences between the two species (Table A2). 
CommentHabitat: Occurs in upland rainforest and heath (all records come from above approximately 900 m elevation). Most often seen in warmer, sunlit areas such as in canopy gaps or rocky areas. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Ingram G J 1991. Five new skinks from Queensland rainforests. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 30 (3): 443-453
  • Muñoz, M. M., Langham, G. M., Brandley, M. C., Rosauer, D. F., Williams, S. E. and Moritz, C. 2016. Basking behavior predicts the evolution of heat tolerance in Australian rainforest lizards. Evolution, 70: 2537–2549.doi:10.1111/evo.13064 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Wells, R.W. 2002. Some taxonomic changes to the genus Lampropholis (Reptilia: Scincidae) from Australia. Australian Biodiversity Record (8): 1-24 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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