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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
DistributionArgentina (La Rioja)

Type locality: Pampa de Vinigeao, El Cienagondo, in front of Estancia Vinigeao, San Blas de los Sauces department, La Rioja province, Argentina (28o45’53,53”S, 67o08’00,94”W, 3427 m).  
TypesHolotype. LJAMM-CNP 18124 (Fig. 4), an adult male collected by A. Leaché, 2 February 2018.
Paratypes. MLP-S 2639 (ex-LJAMM CNP 18114), 2642 (ex-LJAMM CNP 18126), 2643 (ex-LJAMM CNP 18128), LJAMM CNP 18125/7 18128 (males, Fig. 5) and LJAMM CNP 18115–18121, MLP.S 2640/2641 (ex- LJAMM CNP 18122/18123) (females, Figs. 6, 7) from same locality as holotype. collected by same collector, 2 February 2018. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderate to large-bodied, elongate lizard belonging to the Liolaemus capillitas clade, that can be distinguished from all other members of that group (and all other Liolaemus) by having homogeneous black bodied coloration on dorsal and lateral sides of head, body, tail and limbs, with a well-marked white vertebral but irregular band between occiput to rump (Figures 4 and 6) and lack of white spotted shoulders. Liolaemus galactostictos sp. nov. differs from L. capillitas, L. dicktracyi, L. heliodermis, L. talampaya and L. umbrifer in having a shorter snoutvent length (max SVL 81.3 mm vs 93.1, 91.0, 91.4, 88.1 and 88.4 mm) but is slightly larger than L. tulkas (max SVL 76.8 mm). Liolaemus galactostictos sp. nov. also differs from L. capillitas by having higher average number of midbody scales (66.0 vs 62.0), dorsal scales (75.6 vs 64.8) and ventral scales (105.1 vs 99.9). Liolaemus galactostictos sp. nov. differs from L. dicktracyi in having more dorsal scales (average 75.6 vs 68.2) and lacks any indigo/light blue coloration. Liolaemus galactostictos has more and not-overlapping dorsal scales than L. heliodermis (70–79 vs 62–65) but less, and not-overlapping ventral scales (102–108 vs 109–116) and lacks any sulphur-yellow coloration in its body. Liolaemus galactostictos sp. nov. has more and not overlapping dorsal scales than L. talampaya (70–79 vs 64–69), has fewer number of precloacal pores (1–2 vs 3–5), and lacks any tan/light brown body coloration. Liolaemus galactostictos sp. nov. differs from L. tulkas in having a smaller average number of dorsal scales (66.0 vs 71.6) but higher number of ventral scales (75.6 vs 71.8) (Avila et la. 2021).

Color of holotype in life. Dorsal and lateral head, body, limb and tail, black in all of its surface. Middle dorsal region with a white wedge-shaped line, with the widest part in the nuchal region (six scales wide) and the sharper (one scale wide) in the anterior surface of thighs. Dorsal head with some white irregular spots on left side scales. Ventral surface of mental region, neck and ventro-lateral region of the throat, chest, belly and forelimbs black; ventral surface of the chest, lower belly and cloacal apron dark gray; infratibial and infratarsal region, ventral scales of the digits and upper belly white; Infracarpal and infrafemoral region, and ventral scales of the digits red. Ventral surface of tail black (Avila et la. 2021).

Variation. Based on the type and paratype series of five males and nine females (Table 7). As in other members of the Liolaemus elongatus-kriegi group, no remarkable body size dimorphism or sexual dichromatism is observed as in other groups of Liolaemus (except base tail expansion in males and lack of precloacal pores in females). In six males (Table 7): SVL: 54.6–81.3 mm. Axilla–groin distance: 26.1–39.8 mm. Head length: 12.1–17.9 mm. Head width: 9.8–15.5 mm. Head high: 6.3–9.8 mm. Foot length: 18.9–23.2 mm. Tibial length: 12.0–16.5 mm. Arm length: 16.8–23.7 mm. Midbody scales: 64–69. Dorsal scales (between occiput at the anterior margin of auditory meatus and anterior surface of thighs): 70–79. Ventral scales 102–108. Fourth toe lamellae: 24–27. Third toe lamellae: 18– 20. Supralabial scales: 6. Infralabial scales: 4–5. Cloacal pores: 1–2. In nine females (Table 7): SVL: 61.3–76.3 mm. Axilla–groin distance: 27.3–39.7 mm. Head length: 13.0–16.0 mm. Head width: 11.2–13.4 mm. Head high: 6.9–8.4 mm. Foot length: 19.5–21.0 mm. Tibial length: 12.5–14.5 mm. Arm length: 19.1–21.0 mm. Midbody scales: 64–67. Dorsal scales: 73–79. Ventral scales: 104–108. Fourth toe lamellae: 24–29. Third toe lamellae: 17–20. Supralabial scales: 6–7. Infralabial scales: 4–6.
All males and females exhibit a black coloration in upper and lateral sides of the head, trunk, limbs and tail when they were observed and chased. Usually this coloration fade after capture and some areas becomes ochre to dark brown, usually dorsolateral areas of the trunk.
Conspicuous white band is variable in females, from a well-marked irregular band in adults from the neck to the base of the tail, but in smaller animals band is reduced to a separated white dots sometimes reduced to a small area between neck and midbody (Fig. 7). In larger animals, some irregular in size and shape white dots are irregularly dispersed in the head and first two thirds of the tail, but in small animals they are not present. Dorsal and lateral coloration in life is almost identical in all individuals and varies only in intensity. Yellow ventral coloration of males in femoral, cloacal central region and lower belly region is variable in extent and intensity in the indicated areas. In preservative, dorsal coloration of all individuals fades to a darker color, although all retained the contrast between back and head and flanks and scattered white spots never disappeared. All distinctive femoral areas and lower belly coloration fades in preservative from yellow to dark gray.
Adult females LJAMM-CNP 18115/6 had crimson red coloration in the cloacal apron and lower belly region and at the base of the thighs and tail when collected, otherwise sexual dichromatism is absent. All other females’ lizards, smaller in size, lack of any coloration in this body region (Avila et la. 2021). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet galactostictos is derived from the combination of the greek words galacto (milk) and stiktos (spotted or dappled), in reference to the evident white mark along the vertebral region on the body. 
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; JUAN ESTEBAN VRDOLJAK, CINTIA DÉBORA MEDINA, JUAN GARCÍA MASSINI, CRISTIAN HERNÁN FULVIO PEREZ, JACK W. JR. SITES, MARIANA MORANDO 2021. A new species of Liolaemus (Reptilia: Squamata) of the Liolaemus capillitas clade (Squamata, Liolaemini, Liolaemus elongatus-kriegi group) from Sierra de Velasco, La Rioja Province, Argentina. Zootaxa 4903 (2): 194–216 - get paper here
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