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Liolaemus gracielae »

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

Type locality: Camino a Mula Muerta, 2 km W de Laguna Brava, Reserva Natural Laguna Brava, Departamento General Sarmiento, Provincia de La Rioja, Argentina (28°16’10.4”S, 68°51’26.0”W; 4300 m).  
TypesHolotype: FML 17866. Adult male. C. S. Abdala, S. Quinteros and C. Robles, cols. 9 October 2005. 
CommentDiagnosis – Liolaemus gracielae is a member of the L. montanus series (sensu Schulte et al., 2000), characterized by the presence of a tibial blade-like process (Etheridge, 1995) in relation to the hypertrophied tib‑ ialis anticus muscle (Abdala et al., 2006), and by the absence of a patch of enlarged scales on the proximal posterior surface of the thigh. The juxtaposed, unkeeled dorsal scales of L. gracielae distinguish it from L. aymararum, L. disjunctus, L. etheridgei, L. fittkaui, L. huacahuasicus, L. huayra, L. montanus, L. multicolor, L. orko, L. ortizi, L. polystictus, L. thomasi, and L. williamsi, all species with dorsal imbricate and keeled scales, and from L. dorbignyi, L. famatinae, L. griseus, L. inti, L. melanogas‑ ter, L. pleopholis and L. pulcherrimus because all of these have imbricate-to-subimbricate scales, slightly keeled. The unkeeled dorsal scales also distinguish L. gracielae from L. chlorostictus, L. orientalis, L. pantherinus, L. poconchilensis, L. robustus, L. sig‑ nifer and L. stolzmanni, which also bear juxtaposed dorsal scales, but slightly keeled.
The number of midbody scales in L. gracielae (86-106) is higher than in L. annectens (57-68), L. audituvelatus (70, sensu Nuñez and Yañez, 1983), L. chlorostictus (64-69), L. disjunctus (67-72), L. dor‑ bignyi (48-59), L. erguetae (68-87, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2005), L. etheridgei (45-55, sensu Laurent, 1998), L. fabiani (54-70, sensu Yañez and Nuñez, 1983), L. famatinae (55-69), L. fittkaui (54-58), L. forsteri (50, sensu Laurent, 1982), L. foxi (80-86, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2005), L. griseus (56-62), L. huacahuasicus (54-69), L. huayra (53-64), L. insolitus (45-62, sensu Cei and Péfaur, 1982), L. inti (61-76), L. islugensis (70-79, sensu Ortiz and Marquet, 1987), L. jamesi (47-60), L. melanogaster (40-55, sensu Laurent, 1998), L. montanus (52-62), L. multicolor (65-83), L. ori‑ entalis (58-68), L. orko (60-68), L. ortizi (47-62, sensu Laurent, 1982), L. pantherinus (58-79, sensu Pellegrin, 1909), L. pleopholis (71-83, sensu Laurent, 1998), L. poconchilensis (60, sensu Valladares, 2004), L. polystictus (57-70, sensu Laurent 1992), L. pulcherrimus (71-85), L. puritamensis (47-57), L. robustus (47-61, sensu Laurent, 1992), L. ruibali (73-88), L. scrocchii (55-68), L. signifer (68-83), L. stolzmanni (49-51, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2005), L. thomasi (49, sensu Laurent, 1998), and L. williamsi (54-67, sensu Laurent, 1992).
The new species is a medium-sized Liolaemus (76.9 mm maximum SVL), distinguished from the smaller species L. famatinae (55.2 mm max. SVL) and L. reichei (50 mm max. SVL, sensu Werner [in Bürger, 1907]). Otherwise, the new species differs from the larger L. chlorostictus (85 mm max. SVL), L. dor‑ bignyi (98.3 mm max. SVL), L. duellmani (83 mm max. SVL, sensu Cei, 1986), L. forsteri (93 mm max. SVL), L. foxi (82.9 mm max. SVL, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2005), L. huayra (94.3 mm max. SVL), L. inti (90.4 mm max. SVL), L. jamesi (97.5 mm max. SVL), L. melanogaster (91 mm max. SVL, sensu Laurent, 1998), L. nigriceps (88.8 mm max. SVL), L. orientalis (99.2 mm max. SVL), L. pa‑ triciaiturrae (96.5 mm max. SVL, sensu PincheiraDonoso and Nuñez, 2005), L. puritamensis (90.8 mm max. SVL), L. robertoi (84 mm max. SVL, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2003), L. scrocchii (95 mm max. SVL) and L. stolzmanni (92 mm max. SVL, sensu Pincheira-Donoso and Nuñez, 2005).
The lack, or presence in very low number, of precloacal pores in females of Liolaemus gracielae (two pores as a maximum, present only in 2 out of 17 females) distinguish it from females of L. griseus (4), L. huayra (3-5, Mode = 4), L. montanus (4-5, Mode = 4), L. orko (3-6, Mode = 6), and L. pulcher‑ rimus (5-7, Mode = 5). Liolaemus gracielae differs from L. poecilochromus for having more dorsal scales from occiput to thigh level (89-129, Mean = 98.3 vs. 74-88, Mean = 80.3); more ventral scales (97-118, Mean = 106.3 vs. 87-101, Mean = 96.6), and by different dorsal and ventral coloration patterns.
Liolaemus gracielae ranges near but not in sympatry to another three species from the montanus series, L. andinus, L. eleodori and L. vallecurensis. A population presently referred to L. andinus ranging near Laguna Brava, represents a still undescribed Liolaemus (Abdala, in prep.). From northern populations of L. andinus sensu stricto (Koslowsky, 1895; Laurent, 1982), L. gracielae may be distinguished by a larger SVL (maximum = 76.9 mm vs. 57.6 mm), by different dorsal and ventral patterns in both species, and by the presence of melanism in the new species. L. gracielae differs from L. eleodori by having more scales on the top of head (15-21 scales, Mean = 17.1 vs. 14-16, Mean = 14.1); more scales around midbody (86-106, Mean = 95.3 vs. 82-88, Mean = 84.1), more ventral scales (97-118, Mean = 106.3 vs. 83-99, Mean = 88.5), and different dorsal and ventral color patterns, including consistent lack of melanism in L. eleodori (Fig. 5).
Main differences between Liolaemus gracielae and L. vallecurensis occur in both dorsal and ventral patterns. Males of L. vallecurensis (Fig. 6) show a polychromous dorsum patterned as transverse dark bands on a yellow or orange background. In most individuals of L. vallecurensis the paravertebral spots bear a white mark behind them, and are larger and more evident than the paravertebral marks present in L. gracielae specimens. Ventrally, males of L. valle‑ curensis show many yellow scales near the belly sides. They lack the typical melanism present in L. gracie‑ lae which, conversely, lack the yellow ventral scales. The pattern in L. vallecurensis females is vivid, particularly on the body sides, tinted in orange, a feature lacking in L. gracielae. Furthermore, females of L. vallecurensis have paravertebral spots more evident and larger than in L. gracielae females. From all other species in the L. montanus group, L. gracielae may be distinguished by the marked melanism in both dorsal and ventral aspects of head and body of males, as well as the peculiar body pattern in females [from ABDALA et al. 2009]. 
EtymologyEtymology – “Named, with compassion, after Graciela Blanco, who greatly contributes to the knowledge of the Liolaemus ecology, and always offers kindness, advice and warm support to us.” [from ABDALA et al. 2009] 
  • Abdala, Cristian S.; Juan C. Acosta, Mario R. Cabrera, Héctor J. Villavicencio, José Marinero 2009. A New Andean Liolaemus of the L. montanus Series (Squamata: Iguania: Liolaemidae) from Western Argentina. South American J. Herp. 4 (2): 91–102 - get paper here
  • Abdala, Cristian Simón; Marcos Maximiliano Paz & Romina Valeria Semhan 2013. Nuevo Liolaemus (Iguania: Liolaemidae) con novedoso carácter morfológico, de la frontera entre Argentina y Chile. Rev. Biol. Trop. 61 (4): 1563-1584 - get paper here
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; LORENA ELIZABETH MARTINEZ & MARIANA MORANDO 2013. Checklist of lizards and amphisbaenians of Argentina: an update. Zootaxa 3616 (3): 201–238
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