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Lankascincus fallax (PETERS, 1860)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Ristellinae (Ristellini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Peters' Tree Skink 
SynonymLygosoma fallax PETERS 1860: 184
Eumeces tabrobanenesis GÜNTHER 1864 (part., fide SMITH 1935)
Lygosoma megalops ANNANDALE 1906: 190
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) fallax — DERANIYAGALA 1931
Lygosoma fallax — SMITH 1935: 288
Lygosoma megalops — SMITH 1935: 289
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) fallax — SMITH 1937: 220
Sphenomorphus rufogulus TAYLOR 1950 (fide GREER 1991)
Sphenomorphus megalops — TAYLOR 1950: 497
Sphenomorphus megalops — DERANIYAGALA 1953: 70
Sphenomorphus fallax — TAYLOR 1953
Sphenomorphus megalops — TAYLOR 1953
Lankascincus fallax — GREER 1991
Lankascincus deraniyagalae GREER 1991
Sphenomorphus megalops — DAS 1996: 48
Sphenomorphus rufogulus — DAS 1996: 48
Sphenomorphus rufogulus — DE SILVA 1996
Lankascincus fallax — AUSTIN et al. 2004
Lankascincus deraniyagalae — AUSTIN et al. 2004
Sphenomorphus rufogulus — RODRIGOI et al. 2006
Lankascincus fallax — ZIESMANN et al. 2007
Sphenomorphus rufogulus — ZIESMANN et al. 2007
Sphenomorphus megalops — SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009
Lankascincus dorsicatenatus — SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009: 225 (fig 261)
Lankascincus gansi — SOMAWEERA & SOMAWEERA 2009: 229 (fig. 263)
Lankascincus deraniyagalae — DAS & DAS 2017
Lankascincus fallax — BATUWITA 2019
Lankascincus megalops — BATUWITA 2019: 223
Lankascincus fallax — AMARASINGHE et la. 2022 
DistributionSri Lanka

Type locality: Ratnapura, Trincomali, Ceylon

deraniyagalae: Sri Lanka (central hills including sub montane area, and the Galle Fort area in the coastal plane); Type locality: Punduloya, Ceylon

megalops: Sri Lanka; Type locality: Pitawala, near Kitulgala (Sabaragamuwa Province), 06°59’N, 80°27’E, 800 m elevation (neotype locality).  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 3762, ZMB 64361, NMW 16630:1-9, see Bauer et al. (2003). The syntypes were considered lost or formerly in NMSL); the neotype, NMSL (WHT) 6545, designated by Batuwita 2019: 223 is invalid fide Amarasinghe et al. 2022; from Puttalam and Kithulgala, Sri Lanka (see Batuwita & Pethiyagoda, 2007). Apparently the neotype had not been deposited in NMSL by May 2021 (Thasun Amarasinghe, pers. comm., 23 Sep 2020 and 3 May 2021). Paratypes: NMSL
Holotype: FMNH 120229 [Sphenomorphus rufogulus]
Holotype: BMNH; Paratypes: BMNH, D-E, same data as holotype. MCZ 39837-39, Dimbulla, Queensland Estate. SMF 15460, Pt. de Galle; other specimens: ZMH [deraniyagalae] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Compared to other lygosomine skinks, the skinks of this genus share the following combination of derived character states: size small (maximum SVL, 58 mm); nuchals undifferentiated; subocular scale row complete and non-interdigitating with supralabials; external ear opening reduced, approximately three times size of narial opening; postmental contacts first infralabial only; third pair of chin scales separated from infralabial row; outer preanals overlap inner; scales perfectly smooth; subdigital lamellae with postaxial groove basally; premaxillary teeth >11; palatal rami of pterygoids slightly expanded posteromedially; fat bodies absent; clutch size constant, two or one, depending on species (GREER 1991). 
CommentSynonymy:  BATUWITA 2019 synonymized Lankascincus deraniyagalae GREER 1991 with L. fallax. Amarasinghe et al. 2022 synonymized Lygosoma megalops with L. fallax.

Type Species: Lygosoma fallax PETERS 1860 is the type species of the genus Lankascincus GREER 1991.

For a general description of the species in the taxon see Taylor (1950) and Deraniyagala (1953), and for some general morphometrics see Table 1 in Greer 1991. Kanishka et al. 2020 provide a comparison of most Lankascincus species in their Tables 4 and 5.

Key: Kanishka et al. 2020: 116 provide a key to the species of Lankascincus.

Species groups: L. gansi group: L. gansi sensu lato; L. taylori group: L. taylori, L. sripadensis; L. dorsicatenatus group: L. dorsicatenatus, L. megalops; L. deignani group: L. deignani and L. greeri; L. fallax, L. taprobanensis, and L. merrill.

Phylogenetics: for a phylogenetic analysis of the position of Lankascincus see Ghosh et al. 2023. 
EtymologyA Latin adjective meaning ‘deceptive’ or ‘fallacious’ in the neutral nominative, with unclear justification.

The genus is named after Sri Lanka. 
  • Amarasinghe, A. A. Thasun; A. Dineth Danushka,, A. Suneth Kanishka,, Patrick D. Campbell, Ivan Ineich, Jakob Hallermann & Olivier S. G. Pauwels 2022. Lygosoma megalops Annandale, 1906 (Squamata, Scincidae): a junior synonym of Lankascincus fallax (Peters, 1860) Bionomina 26: 50–58
  • Annandale, Nelson 1906. New and interesting lizards in the Colombo Museum. Spol. Zeyl. 3: 189-192
  • Austin, C.C.; Das, I. & De Silva, A. 2004. Higher-level molecular phylogenetic relationships of the endemic genus Lankascincus from Sri Lanka based on nuclear DNA sequences. Lyriocephalus 5 (1-2): 11-22 [special issue] - get paper here
  • Balasubramaniam, A. and P. Krishnarajah 2004. Sphenomorphus rufogulus, a new record of an endemic skink from Arasaddy, Jaffna, Sri Lanka (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Lyriocephalus 5 (1-2): 23-24
  • Batuwita, Sudesh 2019. A REVIEW OF THE LIZARDS OF THE ENDEMIC GENUS LANKASCINCUS (REPTILIA: SCINCIDAE: LYGOSOMINAE) FROM SRI LANKA. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology 162(3), (8 April 2019) - get paper here
  • Batuwita, Sudesh and Rohan Pethiyagoda 2007. Description of new species of Sri Lankan Litter Skink (Squamata: Scincidae: Lankascincus). Ceylon Journal of Science (Bio. Sci.) 36(2):80-87
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M. 1998. South Asian Herpetological specimens of historical note in the Zoological Museum, Berlin. Hamadryad 23 (2): 133-149 [1999] - 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 & Abhijit Das 2017. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. John Beaufoy Publishing Ltd., Oxford, 176 pp.
  • Das,I. 1996. Biogeography of the Reptiles of South Asia. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida
  • de Silva, A. 1996. The herpetofauna of Sri Lanka: A brief review. University of Peradeniya. Privately Published, 99 pp.
  • Gemel, R.; G. Gassner & S. Schweiger 2019. Katalog der Typen der Herpetologischen Sammlung des Naturhistorischen Museums Wien – 2018. Ann. Naturhist. Mus. Wien, B 121: 33–248
  • Ghosh, A., Sil, M., Ukuwela, K. B., & Datta‐Roy, A. 2023. Independent origins or single dispersal? Phylogenetic study supports early Cenozoic origin of three endemic Indo‐Sri Lankan Lygosomine skink genera. Zoologica Scripta - get paper here
  • Greer A E 1991. Lankascincus, a new genus of scincid lizards from Sri Lanka, with descriptions of three new species. Journal of Herpetology 25 (1): 59-64 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Jayaneththi, Hareschandra Bandula 2015. Vertebrate fauna of Morankanda-Mukalana secondary forest patch in Sri Lanka: A checklist reported from 2004-2008 survey. RUHUNA JOURNAL OF SCIENCE 6: 21- 41 - get paper here
  • Kanishka, A.S. et al. 2020. A new species of Lankascincus Greer, 1991 (Reptilia: Scincidae) with an overview of the L. gansi group. TAPROBANICA 9 (1): 103-119 - get paper here
  • Karunarathna, Suranjan D. M. S. and A. A. Thasun Amarasinghe 2011. A PRELIMINARY SURVEY OF THE REPTILE FAUNA IN NILGALA FOREST AND ITS VICINITY, MONARAGALA DISTRICT, SRI LANKA. Taprobanica 3 (2): 69-76 - get paper here
  • Peters, W.C.H. 1860. Verzeichnis der v. Schmarda aus Ceylon gesammelten Amphibien, und Beschr. d. neuen Arten. Mon. Akad. Berlin 1860: 182-186
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig. 1860. Über einige interessante Amphibien, welche von dem durch seine zoologischen Schriften rühmlichst bekannten österreichischen Naturforscher Professor Schmarda während seiner auf mehrere Welttheile ausgedehnten, besonders auf wirbellose Thiere gerichtet Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1860 (April): 182-186. - get paper here
  • Samarawickrama, V.A.M.P.K.; H.I.G.C. Kumara, D.R.N.S. Samarawickrama 2019. Diversity of Reptiles in the Eastern and Southern parts of the Sinharaja Rain Forest. Journal of Tropical Forestry and Environment - 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.
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Somaweera, R. & Somaweera, N. 2009. Lizards of Sri Lanka: a colour guide with field keys. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 304 pp.
  • Taylor, E.H. 1953. A review of the lizards of Ceylon. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 35 (12): 1525-1585 - get paper here
  • Tiedemann,F.; Häupl,M. & Grillitsch,H. 1994. Katalog der Typen der herpetologischen Sammlung nach dem Stand vom 1. Jänner 1994. Teil II: Reptilia. Kat. wiss. Samml. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 10 (Vertebrata 4): 1-110
  • Ukuwela, Kanishka 2009. Life History Traits of Three Sri Lankan Scincidae, With Special Reference to the Reproductive Seasonality of Lankascincus fallax. Hamadryad 34 (1): 172-175 - get paper here
  • Wickramasinghe, L.J. MENDIS; Rodrigo, R.; Dayawansa, N. & Jayantha, U.L.D. 2007. Two new species of Lankascincus (Squamata: Scincidae) from Sripada Sanctuary (Peak Wilderness), in Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 1612: 1–24 - get paper here
  • Ziesmann, S.; Klaas, P.& Janzen, P. 2007. Von Skinken und anderen Echsen [Sri Lankas]. Draco 7 (30): 18-23 - get paper here
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