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Lygisaurus curtus (BOULENGER, 1897)

IUCN Red List - Lygisaurus curtus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLygosoma curtum BOULENGER 1897: 9
Lygosoma curtum — DE ROOIJ 1915: 245
Leiolopisma novae-guinae — PARKER 1936: 87
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) novaeguineae — LOVERIDGE 1948: 365
Carlia novaeguineae — COGGER et al. 1983: 139
Lygisaurus curtus — INGRAM & COVACEVICH 1988: 351
Carlia curta — KRAUS 2007
Lygisaurus curtus — DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008 
DistributionE Papua New Guinea

Type locality: Mount Victoria, Owen Stanley Range.  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.17.85 (formerly, collected A.S. Anthony. Designation by Wells & Wellington (1985) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A relatively small species of Carlia distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: scales smooth; size small (maximum SVL 43.2 mm); supralabials usually six; supraciliaries usually eight or nine; fewer than 10 supradigital scales on fourth toe, 19–30 lamellae under fourth toe (mean 5 23.9 6 0.12); 24–28 scale rows around midbody (mean 5 26.0 6 0.09); 34–42 paravertebral scales (mean 5 38.6 6 0.17); typically one small, white-tipped ear lobule on anterior margin of ear opening (Fig. 1C in KRAUS 2007); dorsal and lateral surfaces dark brown with a lighter golden-brown dorsolateral stripe separating the two fields (Fig. 2B); temporals dark brown; a few light brown or white scales arrayed to form a stripe along the anterior face of the upper forearm and often on the anterior face of the upper hind limb; region between ear and forearm insertion with either a white stripe or scattered white scales (Fig. 2B, C); and a dark orange-red wash on the sides and under the tail in sexually active males. Carlia curta differs from species in the C. bicarinata complex and C. fusca complex in its smooth scales, small size, and only 8–9 supradigital scales on the fourth toe. Carlia curta differs from C. novaeguineae in having a single conspicuous, pointed, anterior ear lobule (vs. typically none) that is tipped with white (vs. brown, when present); greater number of midbody scale rows (mean 5 26.0 6 0.09 in C. curta vs. 23.6 6 0.27 in C. novaeguineae); greater number of lamellae under the fourth toe (mean 5 23.9 6 0.12 in C. curta vs. 21.5 6 0.27 in C. novaeguineae); dark brown lateral surfaces, dorsal surfaces, and temporals; light golden-brown dorsolateral stripe on each side; a straw-colored or white stripe along the anterior face of each upper forearm; and strawcolored or white flecks in the region between ear and forearm. Carlia curta differs from C. macfarlani in having a single anterior (vs. several anterior and posterior) ear lobule; a lesser number of paravertebral scales (mean 38.6 6 0.17 in C. curta vs. 42.1 6 0.17 in C. macfarlani); greater number of lamellae under the fourth toe (mean 5 23.9 6 0.12 in C. curta vs. 21.5 6 0.12 in C. macfarlani); dark brown lateral surfaces, dorsal surfaces, and temporals; a light golden-brown dorsolateral stripe; a straw-colored or white stripe along the anterior face of the upper forearm; straw-colored or white flecks in the region between the ear and forearm; and in lacking rows of brown spots ventrally. Carlia curta differs from the other Australian species of the C. novaeguineae complex as follows: from C. foliorum and C. timlowi in having a moveable lower eyelid (vs. eyelid fused to form a spectacle); from C. abscondita, C. laeve, C. malleolus, C. rococo, C. sesbrauna, C. tanneri, and C. zuma in usually having six (vs. seven) supralabials; and from C. aerata in having eight or nine (vs. six or seven) supraciliaries, a round (vs. horizontally elongate) ear opening, and single (vs. many) ear lobules. It further differs from all of these species in the color pattern elements noted above [from KRAUS 2007]. 
CommentVariation: KRAUS 2007 provides a detailed discussion of the variation in this species.

Distribution: see map in KRAUS 2007. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet curtus (Latin) means short or incomplete, possibly referring to the (relatively) short SVL. 
  • 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
  • Cogger H.G., Cameron EE & Cogger HM 1983. Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 1: AMPHIBIA AND REPTILIA. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • de Rooij, N. de 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 384 pp. - get paper here
  • Dolman, Gaynor & Andrew F. Hugall 2008. Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3): 782-794 - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S R & Bursey, C R; 2019. Lygisaurus curtus Endoparasites. Herpetological Review 50 (3): 579-580 - get paper here
  • Goldberg, Stephen R. and Christopher C. Austin 2012. Reproduction in Lygisaurus curtus (Scincidae) from Papua New Guinea. Herpetological Bulletin (121) - get paper here
  • Ingram G; Covacevich J 1988. Revision of the genus Lygisaurus de Vis (Scincidae: Reptilia) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 25 (2): 335-354 - get paper here
  • Kraus, F. 2007. Taxonomic partitioning within Papuan members of the Carlia novaeguineae complex (Squamata: Scincidae). Journal of Herpetology 41: 410–423 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1948. New Guinean reptiles and amphibians in the Museum of Comparative Zoology and United States National Museum. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 101 (2): 305-430. - get paper here
  • Parker, H.W. 1936. A collection of reptiles and amphibians from the mountains of British New Guinea. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (10) 17: 66-93 - get paper here
  • 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
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