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Liolaemus tulkas QUINTEROS, ABDALA, GÓMEZ & SCROCCHI, 2008

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus tulkas QUINTEROS, ABDALA, GÓMEZ & SCROCCHI 2008 
DistributionArgentina (Catamarca, above 2000 m elevation).

Type locality: 57 km nw of Fiambalá, road to Paso San Francisco, Tinogasta, Catamarca province, Argentina. 27°43’12.8”S; 67°58’33.4”W, 2825 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: FML 18136. adult male. 
CommentDiagnosis: Liolaemus tulkas is a member of the L. chiliensis group, diagnosed by having meckel’s groove fused and few or absent precloacal pores. within the chiliensis group, L. tulkas is a member of the capillitas group, diagnosed by having a distinct color pattern in shoulder region and red coloration in cloacal region (Lobo, 2005). The capillitas group is included the more inclusive petrophilus group (morando et al. 2003; avila et al. 2004). within the petrophilus group Liolaemus tulkas differs from L. austromendocinus, L. capillitas, L. dicktracyi, L. gununakuna, L. heliodermis, L. petrophilus, L. talampaya, L. thermarum and L. umbrifer in having a shorter snout-vent length (max. sVL 70.1 mm vs. 81 a 103 mm) and a distinct color pattern; and from L. austromendocinus, L. capillitas, L. dicktracyi, L. gununakuna, L. heliodermis, L. parvus sp nov., L. petrophilus, L. talampaya, and L. umbrifer in having fewer precloacal pores in males (0-1 vs 0-5). it also differs from L. austromendocinus, L. gununakuna, L. parvus and L. petrophilus in having red color in the cloacal region. Liolaemus tulkas has distinctly keeled dorsal scales, in contrast with Liolaemus heliodermis and L. umbrifer which have only slightly keeled dorsal scales. Liolaemus tulkas differs from L. capillitas, L. dicktracyi and L. talampaya in having more dorsal scales between occiput and hindlimbs (71-83 vs 56-73). Liolaemus tulkas differs from L. buergeri (included in the capillitas group by Lobo, 2005) in having a shorter snout-vent length (max. sVL 70.1 m vs. 108.2 mm), fewer midbody scales (63-68 vs. 86-113), fewer ventral scales (98-112 vs 116-139), fewer precloacal pores in males (0-1 vs 2-6), and a different dorsal color pattern. 
Etymologyin the mythology of J. R.R. Tolkien, “Tulkas” is one of the ainur or powers that helped shape arda or middle earth. One of the characteristics of Tulkas is that of running faster than any other creature. Liolaemus tulkas is very fast in short sprints. 
References
  • AVILA, LUCIANO JAVIER; LORENA ELIZABETH MARTINEZ & MARIANA MORANDO 2013. Checklist of lizards and amphisbaenians of Argentina: an update. Zootaxa 3616 (3): 201–238
  • Quinteros, A.S.; Abdala, C.S.; Díaz Gómez, J.M. & Scrocchi, G.J. 2008. Two new species of Liolaemus (Iguania: Liolaemidae) of Central West Argentina. South American J. Herp. 3 (2): 101-111 - get paper here
 
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