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Lankascincus sameerai KANISHKA, DANUSHKA & AMARASINGHE, 2020

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Ristellinae (Ristellini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Sameera’s Lanka-skink
Sinhala: Sameeragé lak-hikanala 
SynonymLankascincus sameerai KANISHKA, DANUSHKA & AMARASINGHE 2020
Lankascincus cf. sameerai — JANZEN 2021 
DistributionSri Lanka (Southern Province)

Type locality: Morningside (6°24' N, 80°36' E, alt. 1000 m a.s.l.), Matara District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka  
TypesHolotype. Adult male, WHT 6720, SVL 36.0 mm, collected from Morningside (6°24' N, 80°36' E, alt. 1000 m a.s.l.), Matara District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka, by M.M. Bahir & S. Nanayakkara, on 14 January 1999.
Paratypes (n=5). Adult males, WHT 1608, SVL 36.8 mm, collected from Morningside (6°24' N, 80°36' E, alt. 1000 m a.s.l.), Matara District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka, by D.E. Gabadage & M.M. Bahir, on 21 February 1996; WHT 6741, SVL 35.5 mm; WHT 6749a, SVL 35.0 mm; WHT 6749b, SVL 35.0 mm; adult female, WHT 6593, SVL 35.7 mm; collected from Silverkanda, Deniyaya (6°24' N, 80°37' E, alt. 760 m a.s.l), Matara District, Southern Province, Sri Lanka.
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Lankascincus sameerai sp. nov. is distinguished from its congeners by possessing the following combination of characters: maximum SVL 35.0–36.8 mm; prefrontals narrowly in contact, two primary temporals, upper primary temporal juxtaposed with secondary temporals, paired frontoparietals, second supraocular wider in transverse axis, frontal length more or less equal with the length of frontoparietals and interparietal combined, throat scales cycloid and imbricate, seven supralabials with last one split, four infralabials, 26 midbody scale rows, 48 paravertebrals, 46– 48 ventrals, 7–8 and 12–13 lamellae on fourth finger and toe respectively, brownish pink venter, dark gray throat with yellow flecks on labials, lower temporal region until shoulders (no flecks on throat and neck), dark brown (lighter than throat) neck; the differences are summarized in Tables 2–5 in Kanishka et al. 2020. 
CommentThis species was split off from L. gansi.

Distribution: for a map see Kanishka et al. 2020: 117 (Fig. 8). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is an eponym Latinized in the genitive singular, honouring Sri Lankan herpetologist Mr. Sameera Karunarathna (as D.M.S. Suranjan Karunarathna in publications) to express our sincere appreciation for his remarkable contributions to herpetology, especially the agamid and gekkonid fauna of Sri Lanka. The first two authors of this publication further express their gratitude for his generous teaching and guidance in taxonomic studies. Sameera’s remarkable contributions to biodiversity conservation in Sri Lanka, especially the enormous effort in popularizing reptile conservation among the general public, is highly commendable. The senior author of this publication celebrates his research partnership and friendship with Sameera since 2003. 
  • JANZEN, P. 2021. Morningside – ein herpetologisches Highlight Sri Lankas. Sauria 43 (1): 9-37 - 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
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