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Liolaemus tirantii AVILA, FULVIO-PEREZ, MINOLI, MEDINA, SITES & MORANDO, 2017

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus tirantii AVILA, FULVIO-PEREZ, MINOLI, MEDINA, SITES & MORANDO 2017
Liolaemus donosobarrosi AVILA, 1996
Liolaemus donosobarrosi AVILA et al. 2006 
DistributionArgentian (Neuquén)

Type locality: small unnamed sedimentary hill 2 km S Cerro Bandera, 1 km S National Road 22, 18.5 km W Cutral-Có, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (38º 58’ 06.0” S, 69º 27’ 08.7” W, 970 m elevation)  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesHolotype: LJAMM-CNP 13464 (Figs. 6, 7), an adult male, collected by J.A. Avila, I. Minoli, C. Medina and M. Kozykariski, 12 November 2010. Paratypes. LJAMM-CNP 13465 (male),13467–13469 (females) from same locality as holotype, collected by J.A. Avila, I. Minoli, C. Medina and M. Kozykariski, 12 November 2010. MLP.S 2625 (male), BYU 52427–52429 (juveniles), eastern outskirts La Amarga village, on the road to Petrified Forest, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (39º06’39.7” S, 69º34’29.2” W, 803 m), collected by L.J. Avila, M. Morando, D. Perez and J. Perez, 2 May 1998. LJAMM-CNP 2542 (female) from 2 km SE La Amarga village, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (39º06’39”S, 69º34’09”W), collected by L.J. Avila and M. Morando, 7 March 2000. LJAMM-CNP 10409 (female), from 2 km E La Amarga village, 11 km E junction Provincial Road 34, Cerro Atravesado, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (39º06’39.70” S, 69º34’9.20” W, 803 m), collected by L.J. Avila, M. Morando and D. Perez, 26 February 2008. LJAMM-CNP 11292–11293, 11339 (females), from 2 km E La Amarga village, 11 km E junction Provincial Road 34, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (39º06’39.70”S, 69º34’9.20”W, 803 m), collected by L.J. Avila, N. Feltrin, M. Nicola, and L.E. Martinez, 17 December 2008. LJAMM-CNP 11297 (female) from National Road, 1 km W junction Provincial Road 34, Cerro Atravesado, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (38º55’14”S, 69º42’13.2”W, 788 m), collected by L.J. Avila, N. Feltrin, M. Nicola, and L.E. Martinez, 17 December 2008. LJAMM-CNP 247 (male), 248 (female) from 40 km E Zapala Yacimiento Cerro Bandera, Zapala Department, Neuquén Province, Argentina (38º57’22.47” S, 69º33’11.50” W, 811 m), collected by S. Tiranti. 
DiagnosisLiolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is a robust but small sized member of the clade of Liolaemus referred to as the boulengeri group by Etheridge (1995), and is a member of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi group (Avila et al. 2006, 2007, Olave et. al 2014, 2016) that includes L. cuyanus, L. donosobarrosi, L. mapuche, L. josei, L. puelche and several other potential species still undescribed. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other species of its group of Liolaemus by a combination of genetic and morphological characteristics. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. can be differentiated from L. cuyanus by its smaller size (64.3 mm vs 92.5 mm maximum SVL), higher number of midbody scales (X = 73.5 vs X = 66.7; min.–max. 66–86 vs 60–76, Blum 2012) with overlap, higher number of dorsal scales (X = 87.2 vs 63.6; min.–max. 79–97 vs 57–74, Blum 2012) with no overlap, four scales in contact with mental vs six in L. cuyanus, lack of prescapular marks and ventral melanism, and a very different general coloration and coloration patterns. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is smaller than Liolaemus mapuche (64.3 mm vs 82.7 mm maximum SVL), has higher number of dorsal scales (X = 87.2 vs 76.2; min.–max. 79–97 vs 70–86) with some overlap, only four scales in contact with mental vs six in L. cuyanus (more common state, Abdala 2002), and lack of scapular marks, ventral melanism and a very different dorsal coloration characterized by a light blue head and scattered blue scales on a light green-blue background (Abdala 2002). Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is smaller than L. puelche (64.3 mm vs 89 mm maximum SVL), has a higher number of midbody scales (X = 73.5 vs 70.7; min.–max. 66–86 vs 67–76) with overlap and a higher number of dorsal scales (X = 87.2 vs 76.7; min.–max. 79–97 vs 74–80) with little overlap. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. is slightly smaller than L. josei (64.3 mm vs 73.1 mm maximum SVL), has a higher number of midbody scales (X = 73.5 vs 69.1; min.–max. 66–86 vs 62–76), have higher number of dorsal scales (X = 87.2 vs X = 73.1; min.–max. 79–97 vs 67–81) with slight overlap, lacks the well-marked gular melanism of L. josei males as well as its more marked dorsal color pattern. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. has a lower average number of scales around midbody than L. donosobarrosi (X = 73.5 vs 82.1; min.–max. 66–86 vs 74–89), middorsal scales (X = 87.21 vs 90.4; min.–max. 79–97 vs 86–101), and ventral scales (X = 94.0 vs 99.5; min.–max. 87–107 vs 88–109). Dorsal color pattern in L. tirantii sp. nov. is a series of rounded to kidney-shaped transversal marks bordered of white, usually fused along the body but more frequently on the limbs insertions, giving it a ¨wavy¨ appearance, whereas L. donosobarrosi has a series of halfmoon dots surrounding white spots, only in a few cases fused to each other, usually in the dorsal neck region; L. tirantii sp. nov. lacks of the black transversal marks observed on the head sides of L. donosobarrosi. Liolaemus tirantii sp. nov. can be distinguished from L. donosobarrosi sp. 3 by its lack of a transverse yellow and brown bands along the dorsum in life, and presence of a series of rounded to kidney-shaped transversal marks bordered of white, usually fused along the body but more frequently on the limbs insertions, given it a ¨wavy¨ appearance. 
CommentHabitat: small rocks, between bushes; ecotonal area between Patagonian Steppe (Erial Patagónico) and Southern Patagonian Monte.

Syntopy: L. darwinii, L. gracilis, L. gununakuna, and L. aff. mapuche, as well
as a teiid lizard, Aurivela longicauda and a gecko, Homonota darwinii. In nearby localities we collected Bothrops ammodytoides, Philodryas patagoniensis and P. trilineata, all are known to eat lizards and are probable predators of L. tirantii.

Diet: arthropods and some plant matter. 
EtymologyTo honor Sergio Igor Tiranti, an enthusiastic biologist, colleague and friend of the authors, who first discovered and collected the species in early 1990 at the type locality, and to his father Ivan Nicolas Tiranti, professor of genetics at the National University of Río Cuarto, Argentina, who helped the first author on its doctoral studies and shared its experiences and friendship in the academic world. 
References
  • Avila, L.J. 1996. Liolaemus donosobarrosi: Ampliación de su distribución geográfica y primera cita para la provincia de Neuquén. Cuadernos de Herpetología 9: 109–110
  • Avila, L.J.; Morando, M. & Sites, J.W. 2006. Congeneric phylogeography: hypothesizing species limits and evolutionary processes in Patagonian lizards of the Liolaemus boulengeri group (Squamata: Liolaemini). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society <br />89: 241–275. - get paper here
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; CRISTIAN HERNÁN FULVIO PEREZ, IGNACIO MINOLI, CINTIA DEBORA MEDINA, JACK W. JR. SITES, MARIANA MORANDO 2017. New species of Liolaemus (Reptilia, Squamata, Liolaemini) of the Liolaemus donosobarrosi clade from northwestern Patagonia, Neuquén province, Argentina Zootaxa 4362 (4): 535-563 - get paper here
 
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