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Leiolopisma alazon ZUG, 1985

IUCN Red List - Leiolopisma alazon - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Lauan Ground Skink 
SynonymLeiolopisma alazon ZUG 1985
Leiolopisma alazon — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995 
DistributionFiji Islands (Yanuya Island)

Type locality: Fiji, Ono-i-Lau, Yanuya Island, 20° 37’ S, 178° 41’ W.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 229989 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: This skink is a small Leiolopisma with an adult snout-vent length (SVL) of 45-65 mm, a robust elongate body, short but well developed limbs, a pair of frontoparietal scales, prefrontals not in contact, smooth dorsal scales, 34- 37 scale rows around midbody, and an orange to red tail in adults. These features, singly or in combination, distinguish this species from all currently recognized Leiolopisma species. The Australian species L. duperreyi, L. greeni, L. metallicum, L. ocellatum, L. palfreymani, L. platynotum, L. pretiosum, and L. trilineatum possess a single (fused) frontoparietal scale; L. baudini, L. coventryi, L. entrecasteauxii, and L. zia, have fewer than 34 scale rows around midbody; L. spenceri has supernasals; adult L. lichenigerum has SVL greater than 75 mm. No New Zealand Leiolopisma possesses a uniform reddish or orangish tail dorsally. The majority, L. acrinasum, L. chloronoton, L. fallai, L. gracilicorpus, L. grande, L. homalonotum, L. infrapunctatum, L. lineoocellatum, L. nigriplantare, L. otagense, and L. suteri also have adult SVL greater than 75 mm. Leiolopisma fasciolare, known only from the original description, has 27 scale rows around midbody. The majority of the New Caledonian species, L. austrocaledonicum, L. depianchei, L. euryotis, L. novacaledonicum, L. steindachneri, L. tricolor, and L. variabile, have a single frontoparietal. Leiolopisma greeri and L. nigrofasciolatum have large prefrontals broadly in contact medially (Zug 1985). 
CommentComparisons: Zug 1985 has a table of meristic characters across what he considered (Oceanic) Leiolopisma then (now mostly in other genera). 
EtymologyThe name "alazon" is Greek (neuter) for wanderer or rover. It is used in allusion to this species wandering from the common geographic track (New Caledonia through New Zealand to Australia) of Pacific Leiolopisma as well as to its dispersal to the remote Ono-i-Lau group. 
  • Adler,G.H.; Austin,C.C. & Dudley,R. 1995. Dispersal and speciation of skinks among archipelagos in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Evolutionary Ecology 9: 529-541 - get paper here
  • Morrison, C. 2003. A Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji. Suva, Fiji: Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific, 121 pp.
  • Zug,G. R. 1985. A new skink (Reptilia: Sauria: Leiolopisma) from Fiji. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 98 (1): 221-231 - get paper here
  • Zug,G. R. 1991. The lizards of Fiji: Natural history and systematics. Bishop Mus. Bull. Zool. 2: 1-136
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