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Liolaemus vhagar QUINTEROS, RUIZ-MONACHESI & ABDALA, 2019

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Higher TaxaLiolaemidae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymLiolaemus vhagar QUINTEROS, RUIZ-MONACHESI & ABDALA 2019
Liolaemus bibronii 4 — MORANDO et al. 2007 (in part)
Liolaemus sp. 15. — PORTELLI & QUINTEROS 2018
Liolaemus sp. from Comallo — QUINTEROS et al. 2019 
DistributionArgentina (Rio Negro)

Type locality: Cerro Alto, Pilcaniyeu, Rio Negro. 40°44,074’ S; 70°34,696’W.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: FML 10064. Male. Abdala C.S. and R.E. Espinoza cols.
Paratypes: FML 10063; 10065–67. Two females and two males. Same data as the Holotype. FML 21484. Male. National Road 40, near Cerro Alto, Pilcaniyeu, Río Negro. 40°52’17.4’’S; 70°3357.3’’W. Abdala, Quinteros, Scrocchi and Stazzonelli, Cols.; 21540–41. One female and two males. Five km West of Comallo. 41°03’21.8’S; 70°23’15’W. Abdala, Quinteros, Scrocchi and Stazzonelli, Cols. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Liolaemus vhagar is a small, slender Liolaemus (Max SVL 56.5), which belongs to the L. alticolor–bibronii group, because it shares a set of character states as defined by Quinteros (2012, 2013) and Quinteros et al. (2014). Liolaemus vhagar was previously considered as a population of L. bibronii, but has a combination of characters that allow us to distinguish it from L. bibronii and from all members of the L. alticolor–bibronii group.
Liolaemus vhagar differs from L. bibronii in the number of scales between nasal and canthal (2 and 1, respectively). The number of scales between frontal and supercilliaries is higher in L. vhagar (average) than in L. bibronii (average). Liolaemus vhagar shows enlarged scales in the anterior margin of the auditory meatus; these enlarged scales are absent in L. bibronii. The number of scales of circumorbital semicircles is higher in L. vhagar (average) than in L. bibronii (Average). The dorsal scales of L. vhagar are mucronless, whereas the dorsal scales of L. bibronii show an evident mucron. The antegular fold is evident in L. vhagar, but absent in L. bibronii. The fourth supralabial never contacts the subocular in L. bibronii; in most (90%) specimens of L. vhagar that contact exists. Paravertebral spots are rounded in L. bibronii, being irregularly shaped in L. vhagar. The ventral region of tail in L. vhagar is without spots, whereas in L. bibronii that region is spotted.
Liolaemus vhagar can be distinguished from L. balerion and L. meraxes by several characters. Dorsal scales of L. balerion have a mucron, while these are mucronless in L. vhagar. The number of temporal scales in L. balerion (average) is lower than in L. vhagar (8–9). In the dorsum of the head of specimens of L. vhagar, there is a black line surrounding the interparietal scale, but this line is absent in L. balerion. The lengths of the first, second, third and fourth toes are larger in L. balerion than in L. vhagar. The number of neck and gular scales is lower in L. balerion than in L. vhagar. The number of infradigital lamellae of the second finger is higher in L. balerion than in L. vhagar. The number of infradigital lamellae on the first, second, third and fourth toes is higher in L. balerion than in L. vhagar. The subocular scale is white (lighter than loreal region) in L. vhagar, being the same colour as the loreal region in L. meraxes. Paravertebral spots in L. meraxes are merged, forming a longitudinal stripe, whereas in L. vhagar, these spots are irregularly shaped, but never merged. Dorsolateral stripes in L. meraxes are bordered by a black line, while in L. vhagar, dorsolateral stripes lack this black border. In the dorsal side of the head of specimens of L. vhagar, there is a black line surrounding the interparietal scale, which is absent in L. meraxes. Dorsal scales show a mucron in L. meraxes, being absent in dorsal scales of L. vhagar. Snout–vent length is larger in L. vhagar than in L. meraxes. The fifth finger is longer in L. meraxes than in L. vhagar. The head is longer in L. meraxes than in L. vhagar, but the head of L. vhagar is wider than the head of L. meraxes. The tibia of L. meraxes is longer than L. vhagar. The number of neck and gular scales is lower in L. meraxes than in L. vhagar. The number of infradigital lamellae on the second finger is larger in L. vhagar than in L. meraxes.
The presence of a vertebral line distinguishes L. vhagar from L. abdalai, L. bitaeniatus, L. exploratorum, L. fuscus, L. incaicus, L. lemniscatus, L. sanjuanensis and L. saxatilis. Males of L. chavin, L. pachacutec, L. wari and L. walkeri exhibit partial or total ventral melanism, absent in L. vhagar. Subocular scales in L. vhagar are white (lighter than the loreal region), a character state distinguishing it from L. incaicus, L. paulinae, L. puna, L. pyriphlogos and L. yanalcu. Temporal scales of L. vhagar are smooth, being weakly keeled in L. abdalai, L. alticolor, L. chaltin, L. chungara, L. curicensis, L. exploratorum, L. fuscus, L. incaicus, L. pagaburoi, L. pyriphlogos, L. ramirezae, L. tandiliensis, L. variegatus, L. yalguaraz and L. yanalcu, and markedly keeled in L. aparicioi, L. bitaeniatus, L. cyaneinotatus, L. lemniscatus, L. sanjuanensis, L. saxatilis and L. variegatus. Neck scales of L. vhagar are laminar and smooth, differing from L. alticolor and L. yanalcu (laminar and weakly keeled), from L. abdalai, L. aparicioi, L. bitaeniatus, L. chaltin, L. curicensis, L. incaicus, L. pagaburoi, L. paulinae, L. puna, L. pyriphlogos, L. ramirezae and L. variegatus (some scales are keeled), L. cyaneinotatus, L. fuscus, L. lemniscatus, L. sanjuanensis, L. saxatilis and L. tandiliensis (keeled neck scales) and from L. chungara (both granular and laminar scales). The number of neck scales of L. vhagar (30–35) is higher than L. abdalai, L. gracilis, L. lemniscatus, L. saxatilis and L. tandiliensis (20–29). The head surface is smooth in L. vhagar, whereas it is slightly rugose in L. exploratorum and rugose in L. bitaeniatus, L. lemniscatus and L. saxatilis. Liolaemus vhagar has paravertebral spots, differing from L. fuscus and L. gracilis in which paravertebral spots are absent. 
Comment 
EtymologyIn George R. R. Martin’s epic A song of ice and fire, Vhagar is one of the three mighty dragons who helped to conquer Westeros. It was mounted by Visenya. 
References
  • Morando, Mariana; Luciano J. Avila, Cameron R. Turner and Jack W. Sites Jr. 2007. Molecular evidence for a species complex in the patagonian lizard Liolaemus bibronii and phylogeography of the closely related Liolaemus gracilis (Squamata: Liolaemini). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 43 (3): 952-973 - get paper here
  • Portelli SN, Quinteros AS. 2018. Phylogeny, time divergence, and historical biogeography of the South American Liolaemus alticolor–bibronii group (Iguania: Liolaemidae). PeerJ 6: e4404
  • Quinteros, A S; M R Ruiz-Monachesi, C S Abdala 2019. Solving the Liolaemus bibronii puzzle, an integrative taxonomy approach: redescription of L. bibronii and description of three new species (Iguania: Liolaemidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society zlz113 - get paper here
 
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