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Leiolopisma ceciliae ARNOLD & BOUR, 2008

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLeiolopisma ceciliae ARNOLD & BOUR 2008
Leiolopisma ceciliae — SANCHEZ 2019 
DistributionLa Reunion

Type locality: Grotte au Sable, St-Gilles, La Réunion  
TypesHolotype: BMNH R16538, right dentary; Paratypes: Grotte au Sable, St-Gilles, La Réunion; 1 juvenile frontal, 1 fused postorbital and postfrontal, 2 right maxillae*, 2 quadrates*, 1 left pterygoid, 4 left and 5 right dentaries*, 2 right posterior mandibles*, 6 presacral vertebrae*, 3 left and 3 right humeri*, 1 sacrum, 2 left and 3 right pelves*, 1 left and 1 right fem- ora*, 1 right tibia; BMNH R16539-16564. Grottes des Premiers Français , St-Paul, La Réunion ; 1 right quadrate, 1 right posterior mandible, 1 right humerus; BMNH 16565-16567. Cave near St-Paul, La Réunion; 1 right dentary, 1 partial right humerus, 1 right tibia; BMNH 1977.881-883 (material previously reported and tibia illustrated by Arnold, 1980). An asterisk indicates that examples of the elements con- cerned have also been placed in the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle, St-Denis, La Réunion. BMNH status unclear fide P. Campbell, pers. comm., March 2019. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A Leiolopisma intermediate in adult size and robustness between the two Mauritian species of the genus, L. telfairii and the giant L. mauritiana. Most similar to L. telfairii but differs in larger maximum size, coarser dentition, frontal bone narrower anteriorly at least in young animals, the fused postorbital and postfrontal bones with shorter posterior section and less prominent lateral spur, and quadrate more expanded lateromedially. L. mauritiana grows much larger than L. ceciliae and has coarser dentition. L. ceciliae is also separated from L. telfairii and L. mauritiana by distinctive mitochondrial DNA sequence (12S rRNA and cytochrome b gene fragments).
Fossil remains distinguished from those of the sympatric skink Gongylomorphus bojerii borbonicus by larger size, fused frontal bones and absence of a Meckel’s groove in the dentary. 
CommentConservation: Probably extinct; this species has been described based on subfossil remains and DNA data. 
EtymologyNamed after Cécile Mourer-Chauviré, celebrated specialist on fossil birds, who took part in excavations for subfossil remains on La Réunion between 1987 to 2001, identifying half a dozen of new species of birds. She also proposed the hypothesis of a ‘great extinction’ on the island, associated with cataclysmic volcanic eruptions, 180,000–230,000 years ago (Mourer-Chauviré et al., 1999). 
  • Arnold, E. Nicholas; Bour, Roger. 2008. A new Nactus gecko (Gekkonidae) and a new Leiolopisma skink (Scincidae) from La Reunion, Indian Ocean, based on recent fossil remains and ancient DNA sequence. Zootaxa 1705: 40-50 - 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
  • Sanchez, M. 2019. Leiolopisma ceciliae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T17023550A17023949
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