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Lobulia elegans (BOULENGER, 1897)

IUCN Red List - Lobulia elegans - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Elegant Lobulia 
SynonymLygosoma elegans BOULENGER 1897: 8
Lygosoma elegans — GÜNTHER 1888: 169 (?)
Lygosoma elegantoides — AHL (nom. nov. pro Lygosoma elegans)
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) elegans — SMITH 1937: 224
Scincella elegantoides — MITTLEMAN 1952: 24
Lobulia elegans — GREER 1974: 9
Lobulia elegans — MYS 1988: 141
Lobulia elegans — GREER et al 2005
Lobulia elegantoides — SHEA & MICHELS 2008: 738
Lobulia elegans — KRAUS 2020
Lobulia elegans — SLAVENKO et al. 2021 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (southern slope of the Owen Stanley Mts, 1340-2440 m elevation)

Type locality: Mt Victoria, Owen Stanley Range, New Guinea.

Type locality: Papua New Guinea; Type locality: 7500-8000 feet on Mount Wilhelm, Bismarck Range, Madang Division, New Guinea [lobulus]  
Reproductionviviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: BMNH, collected A.S. Anthony. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Medium-sized (adult SVL 41.9–63.9 mm) terrestrial or semi-arboreal skinks with long limbs (forelimbs 32.9–47.6% of SVL, hindlimbs 41.6– 54.8% of SVL); lobules present on anterior edge of ear opening; two pairs of chin shields in medial contact; two supralabials posterior to subocular supralabial; chin shields abutting infralabials; lower eyelid with semi-transparent window; standard three-scale temporal region; nasal scale undivided; frontoparietals either fused or unfused; viviparous; litter size 1–4.
Lobulia differs from all other genera by its much longer limbs (forelimbs 32.9–47.6% vs. 27.7–39.8% of SVL, hindlimbs 41.6–54.8% vs. 29.9–49.6% of SVL). It further differs from Prasinohaema by lacking green blood serum and tissues (Greer, 1974), a prehensile tail with a glandular tip and basally expanded subdigital lamellae. It differs from Papuascincus by having two pairs of chin shields in medial contact (vs. one), an undivided (vs. divided) nasal scale and a viviparous (vs. oviparous) reproductive mode (Slavenko et al. 2021).

Diagnosis (genus): Lobulia is defined by being ovoviviparous, with a reduced or absent parietal eye, absence of inguinal fat bodies, two or more pairs of enlarged chin shields in medial contact, lower eyelid with a transparent to opaque window (but some species secondarily scaly), anteriormost nuchal and upper secondary temporal separated from each other along edge of parietal by at least one scale, and lateral and medial lobes of the rostral not extending posteriorly as far as the anterior edge of the nostril (Greer et al. 2005, Kraus 2020).

Diagnosis: A moderately sized species of Lobulia, adult SVL 59–66.5 mm; with a dorso-ventrally flattened body, distinct frontoparietals, two supralabials posterior to subocular, scales of temporal region not highly frag- mented, lobules present on anterior margin of ear opening, subdigital lamellae 22–28 under 4th toe, mid-body scale rows 30–32, paravertebral scales 52–54, mid-dorsum with two rows of large dark-brown spots, top of tail base with one row of large dark-brown spots, sides brown with rows of small dark-brown spots, distinct pale dorsolateral stripe absent, light field on abdomen that lacks brown spotting ten scales wide, and under thighs and precloacal region white, without brown spotting.
Lobulia elegans can be distinguished from the other five species currently placed in the genus as follows: L. elegans differs from L. brongersmai in having separate (vs. fused) frontoparietals; from L. alpina Greer, Allison & Cogger and L. subalpina Greer, Allison & Cogger in having two (vs. three) supralabials posterior to the subocular supralabial and lacking (vs. having) a pale dorsolateral stripe; and from L. glacialis Greer, Allison & Cogger and L. stellaris Greer, Allison & Cogger in having a relatively unfragmented (vs. fragmented) temporal region, large chin shields abutting the infralabials (vs. separated by genials), and 22–28 (vs. 13–17) subdigital lamellae (Kraus 2020). 
CommentSynonymy partly inferred from Loveridge 1945 who does not recognize lobulus as subspecies. Kraus 2020 removed Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) elegantoides lobulus from the synonymy of L. elegans and considered it as valid.

Type species: Lygosoma elegans BOULENGER 1897 is the type species of the genus Lobulia GREER 1974.

Type: not in BMNH (P. Campbell, pers. comm., 7 July 2014).

Allison & Greer (1986) removed three species from Lobulia and placed them in the newly described Papuascincus, which was distinguished from Lobulia primarily on the basis of being oviparous with a pustulose surface to the egg shells, whereas Lobulia was ovoviviparous. 
  • Allison A; Greer A E 1986. Egg shells with pustulate surface structures: basis for a new genus of New Guinea skinks (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Journal of Herpetology 20 (1): 116-119 - get paper here
  • Boulenger,G.A. 1897. Descriptions of new lizards and frogs from Mount Victoria, Owen Stanley Range, New Guinea, collected by Mr A. S. Anthony. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (6) 19: 6-13 - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E.; Allison, A. & Cogger, H.G. 2005. Four new species of Lobulia (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from high altitude in New Guinea. Herpetological Monographs 19: 153-179 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1888. On a collection of reptiles from China. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 1: 165-172 - get paper here
  • KRAUS, FRED 2020. A new species of Lobulia (Squamata: Scincidae) from Papua New Guinea. Zootaxa 4779 (2): 201–214 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, Arthur 1945. New scincid lizards of the genera Tropidophorus and Lygosoma from New Guinea. Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington 58: 47-52 - get paper here
  • Shea, G.M.; J.P. Michels 2008. A replacement name for Sphenomorphus keiensis (Kopstein, 1926) from the southeastern Moluccas, Indonesia (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) with a redescription of the species. Zoologische Mededelingen 82: 737-747 - get paper here
  • Slavenko, Alex, Karin Tamar, Oliver J. S. Tallowin, Fred Kraus, Allen Allison, Salvador Carranza & Shai Meiri. 2021. Revision of the montane New Guinean skink genus Lobulia (Squamata: Scincidae), with the description of four new genera and nine new species. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 195 (1): 220–278 - get paper here
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
  • Zweifel R G 1980. Results of the Archbold Expeditions, No. 103. Frogs and lizards from the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 165 (5) : 390-434 - get paper here
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