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Lerista xanthura STORR, 1976

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Yellow-tailed Plain Slider 
SynonymLerista xanthura STORR 1976: 247
Lerista xanthura — COGGER 1983: 176
Lerista aericeps aericeps STORR 1986 (fide GREER 1990)
Lerista xanthura — COGGER 2000: 536
Miculia xanthura — WELLS 2012: 61
Lerista xanthura — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, see comment)

Type locality: 7 km SW of the Pollock Hills, 22°54’ S, 127° 30’ E, W. A.  
TypesHolotype: WAM R40174 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Small slender Lerista with digits 4 + 4, eyelid immovable (Le. a large transparent disc surrounded by an almost complete series of granules), and no stripes or spots. Further distinguishable from L. elegans, L. distinguenda and L. separanda by 5 (rather than 3 or 4) supraciliaries and long tail (bright yellow in life). (Storr 1976)

Description (of holotype, the only available specimen at the time): Snout-vent length (mm): 36.5. Length of appendages etc. (% SVL): foreleg 16; hindleg 30; tail 142; snout to foreleg 31.
Nasals forming a moderately long suture. Prefrontals widely separated. Frontoparietals forming a moderately long suture; smaller than interparietal. Nuchals 1-2. Supraoculars 3, first two contacting frontal. Supraciliaries 5, third and fourth largest, second and fifth smallest. Upper secondary temporal much the largest; lower secondary much the smallest. Midbody scale rows 18. Lamellae under longest toe 15-16, compressed and weakly keeled.
Coloration: Upper surface pale pinkish buff, each scale finely edged with brown. Lower surface whitish. (Storr 1976) 
CommentLimb morphology: 4 digits, 4 toes

Distribution: There is uncertainty about whether xanthura is restricted to western NT (and eastern populations are L. aericeps) or whether aericeps is a synonym of xanthura. Swan et al. 2017 (Field Guide) follow Greer's assessment, that all eastern populations of "xanthura" are aericeps (G. Shea, pers. comm., 5 March 2021). 
  • CHIACCHIO, MICHELE; ANNEGRET GRIMM-SEYFARTH<br />KLAUS HENLE<br /> AND JEAN-BAPTISTE MIHOUB 2020. Water availability as a major climatic driver of taxonomic and functional diversity in a desert reptile community. Ecosphere 11(7):e03190. 10.1002/ecs2.3190 - 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
  • Greer A E 1990. The taxonomic status of Lerista aericeps Storr 1986 with a diagnosis of the Lerista orientalis species group. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 14 (4): 443-448 - get paper here
  • Greer,A.E. 1990. Limb reduction in the scincid lizard genus Lerista. 2. Variation in the bone complements of the front and rear limbs and the number of postsacral vertebrae. Journal of Herpetology 24 (2): 142-150 - get paper here
  • Grimm-Seyfarth, A., J.-B. Mihoub, and K. Henle. 2019. Functional traits determine the different effects of prey, predators, and climatic extremes on desert reptiles. Ecosphere 10(9):e02865. 10.1002/ecs2.2865 - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Michael S Y Lee and Mark N Hutchinson 2008. Rapid and repeated limb loss in a clade of scincid lizards. [Lerista]. BMC Evolutionary Biology 8:310 - get paper here
  • Storr G M. 1991. Revision of Lerista aericeps (Lacertilia: Scincidae) of central Australia. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 51 (2): 365-370. - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1976. Revisionary notes on the Lerista (Lacertilia: Scincidae) of Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 4: 241-256 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M., Smith, L. A. & Johnstone, R. E. 1981. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Perth: University of Western Australia Press and Western Australian Museum, 200 pp.
  • Storr, G. M.; L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone 1999. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Western Australian Museum
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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