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Liburnascincus artemis HOSKIN & COUPER, 2015

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common Names 
SynonymLiburnascincus artemis HOSKIN & COUPER 2015 
DistributionAustralia (NE Queensland)

Type locality: Bamboo Range (14°47'35" S, 143°24'03" E; elevation 200 m; datum WGS 84), Cape York Peninsula, northeast Queensland  
TypesHolotype: QM J93471, C. J. Hoskin & A. Zimny, 31 August 2013. Paratypes: QM J93472, QM J93473, QM J93474, collection details as for holotype; QM J76266, Artemis Station (14°58' S, 143°34' E). 
CommentDiagnosis. Liburnascincus artemis sp. nov. is a long-legged, moderate sized skink (SVL 41–58 mm) that is diagnosed from its congeners by the following combination of characters: forelimb length 38–39% SVL; hindlimb length 52–54% SVL; 34–36 midbody scale rows; 52– 53 paravertebral scales; 20–23 lamellae beneath Finger III; 27–30 lamellae beneath Toe IV (Table 1).

Comparison with similar species. Liburnascincus artemis sp. nov. can be readily distinguished from L. coensis and L. scirtetis by its lower midbody scale count (≤ 36 vs. ≥ 42 in L. scirtetis and ≥ 37 in L. coensis), lower paravertebral count (52–53 vs. ≥ 64 in L. scirtetis and ≥ 59 in L. coensis), and fewer subdigital lamellae beneath Toe IV (27–30 vs. 30–34 in L. scirtetis and 29–36 in L. coensis) (Table 1). Further distinguished from these species by smaller body size, proportionally wider head, and other traits marked in Table 1. Further distinguished by colour pattern: black and pale spots on a copper to greyish background in L. artemis sp. nov. (Figs 2B, 6) vs. fairly uniform black in L. scirtetis (Fig. 2C) and variable in L. coensis (uniform black or brown; black with series of white blotches; brownish with pale blotches, Fig. 2A).
Liburnascincus artemis sp. nov. is most similar to L. mundivensis but is distinguished from that species based on the following aspects of morphology, scalation, and colour pattern. Liburnascincus artemis sp. nov. has longer limbs (L1 38–39% SVL, L2 52–54% SVL) than L. mundivensis (L1 28–37% SVL, L2 39–51% SVL). It also has, on average, fewer midbody scale rows (mean 35 vs. 38 in L. mundivensis), and more subdigital lamellae beneath Toe IV (mean 28 vs. 24 in L. mundivensis) and Finger III (mean 21 vs. 19 in L. mundivensis) (Table 1). Liburnascincus artemis sp. nov. also has a more defined neck (see HW/NW and NW/SVL in Table 1). The typical plantar scalation of L. artemis sp. nov. and L. mundivensis differs. In L. artemis sp. nov. it consists of an inner row of large block-like scales that are about twice the size of the small, evenly sized, densely packed plantar scales (Fig. 5A). The typical state in L. mundivensis is a fairly even gradation from larger inner to smaller outer plantar scales (Fig. 5B). Further distinguished by the dark and light spots in the colour pattern of L. artemis sp. nov. (vs. dark mottling, bars or blotches in L. mundivensis) (Figs 6, 7 in HOSKIN & COUPER 2015).

Distribution: see map in HOSKIN & COUPER 2015 (Fig. 1). 
EtymologyNamed in reference to Artemis Station, the cattle property on which the type series was collected. 
  • HOSKIN, CONRAD J. & PATRICK J. COUPER 2015. A new skink (Scincidae: Liburnascincus) from rocky habitat on Cape York, northeast Australia. Zootaxa 3994 (2): 222–234 - get paper here
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