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Liolaemus puelche AVILA, MORANDO, PEREZ & SITES, 2007

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus puelche AVILA, MORANDO, FULVIO PEREZ & SITES 2007
Liolaemus puelche — LOBO et al. 2010 
DistributionArgentina (Mendoza)

Type locality: south side of Ruta Nacional 40, 3 km N Ranquil Norte (36° 38’ S, 69° 49’ W, 1600 m), Malargüe Department, Mendoza province, Argentina, 2500 m elevation Map legend:
Type locality - Type locality.
 
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MACN 38992, adult male collected 9 March 2000, by L. J. Avila, and M. Morando. 
CommentL. puelche is a member of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi group, and molecular data show it as sister taxon of L. josei differing in size, squamation, coloration, and sexual dimorphism. Liolaemus sp. nov. is terrestrial, dwelling on sandy soil in a shrubby piedmont of small hills, and seems to have low population density.

Diagnosis. Liolaemus puelche is a robust and medium size member of the clade of Liolaemus lizards referred to as the boulengeri group by Etheridge (1995) and is a member of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi group, that includes L. cuyanus, L. donosobarrosi, L. josei, and several other potential species still unde- scribed (Avila et al, 2006; Morando et al, 2004). Liolaemus cuyanus has a light brown dorsal coloration crossed by well defined transversal brown bands with posterior white-borders, a conspicuous brown to black antehumeral band from throat to shoulder, and white ventral areas; these characteristics are not present in L. puelche. Liolaemus mapuche has a very different dorsal coloration characterized by a light blue head and scat- tered blue scales on a light green-blue background, a black antehumeral arch, four series of gray paravertebral and lateral spots, and scattered yellow and blue scales in the lateral area of the body (Abdala, 2002); these characteristics are never present in L. puelche. Liolaemus donosobarrosi is a smaller species (maximum SVL = 64 vs 89 mm in L. puelche), and has a dorsal pattern consisting of transverse series of well-marked four half-moon spots surrounding white spots, with a background coloration orange brown or orange tan, some- times very bright, more scales around midbody (71–87 vs 67–76 in L. puelche), and more scales between the occiput and rump (82–101 vs 74–80 in L. puelche). Liolaemus josei is a smaller species (maximum SVL = 73.1 vs 89 mm in L. puelche), with a marked sexual dichromatism not present in L. puelche; L. josei males have gular melanism, two series of well marked paravertebral black spots, and a dorsal background of white/ light blue speckles and a light-blue sheen, characters never present in males of L. puelche.

L. puelche is a member of the L. donosobarrosi group, which includes L. cuyanus, josei, donosobarrosi and possibly mapuche and a couple of yet undescribed species. 
EtymologyThe specific name puelche, comes from the name of a group of aboriginal people that inhabited the mountain slopes and piedmont between the Barrancas and Diamante rivers, in southern Mendoza Province. Puelche culture apparently started to disappear two centuries ago when they mixed with other tribes invading from actual Chile. 
References
  • ABDALA C. S., R. V. SEMHAN, D. L. MORENO AZOCAR, M. BONINO, M. M. PAZ & F. CRUZ 2012. Taxonomic study and morphology based phylogeny of the patagonic clade Liolaemus melanops group (Iguania: Liolaemidae), with the description of three new taxa. Zootaxa 3163: 1–32 - 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
  • JAVIER AVILA, LUCIANO; MARIANA MORANDO, CRISTIAN HERNAN FULVIO PEREZ & JACK W. SITES, JR. 2007. A new species of Liolaemus (Reptilia: Squamata: Liolaemini) from southern Mendoza province, Argentina. Zootaxa 1452: 43-54 - get paper here
  • Lobo, F.; Espinoza, R.E. and S. Quinteros 2010. A critical review and systematic discussion of recent classification proposals for liolaemid lizards. Zootaxa 2549: 1–30 - get paper here
 
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