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Lampropholis robertsi INGRAM, 1991

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Grey-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. 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. J. Austin Roberts (1883-1948), a South African zoologist who in his day was the most prominent ornithologist in southern Africa. 
  • Bell, Rayna C., Parra, Juan L., Tonione, Maria, Hoskin, Conrad J., Mackenzie, Jason B., Williams, Stephen E. and Moritz, Craig 2010. Patterns of persistence and isolation indicate resilience to climate change in montane rainforest lizards. Molecular ecology, 19(12): 2531-2544. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04676.x - get paper here
  • 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. - get paper here
  • 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 - get paper here
  • 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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