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Lygosoma punctata (GMELIN, 1799)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Lygosominae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Common Dotted Garden Skink, Common snake skink, Punctate supple skink
G: Gefleckter Schlankskink 
SynonymScincus punctatus GMELIN 1799: 197
Seps scincoides CUVIER 1829
Eumeces punctatus — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 634 (?)
Eumeces punctatus — GRAVENHORST 1851: 359 (?)
Riopa punctata — GRAY 1845: 96
Riopa hardwickii GRAY 1845
Mabuya elegans GRAY 1845: 95
Lygosoma punctatum — BOULENGER 1887: 310
Lygosoma (Riopa) punctata — DERANIYAGALA 1931
Riopa punctata — SMITH 1935: 318
Riopa punctata — TAYLOR 1953
Riopa punctata — SWAN & LEVITON 1962: 112
Lygosoma punctatus — DAS 1996: 46
Lygosoma punctatum — ZIEGLER et al. 2007
Lygosoma punctatum — NGUYEN et al. 2009
Lygosoma punctata — GEISSLER et al. 2012
Lygosoma punctata — VYAS 2017
Riopa punctata — FREITAS et al. 2019 
DistributionIndia (from W Bengal through most of India, incl. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, Mizoram), Nepal, Vietnam, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Type locality: unknown (Sang et al. 2009)  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesLectotype: Iconotype: the specimen (lost) illustrated in Seba (1735), left side of Fig. 9, Plate 2 (designation by Bauer, 2003). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus Riopa): Riopa can be identified by the following combination of characters: (1) body size small to medium (SVL 35–96 mm); (2) trunk moderately elongate (AGD 55–75% SVL); (3) digits short to long (FinIIILam 5–11, ToeIVLam 6–16); (4) MBSRC 19–30; (5) PVSRC 70–115; (6) lower eyelid scaly or with a transparent disc; (7) supranasal scales in contact medially, occasionally barely touching; (8) prefrontals not in contact medially; (9) frontoparietal single or paired; (10) parietals in contact behind interparietal; (11) enlarged nuchal scales usually present, occasionally absent; and (12) palatine bones with posteriomedially projecting processes, pterygoids emarginated along posterior edge or occasionally rounded [from Freitas et al.2019]

The adults of L. guentheri and L. punctata look similar. However, juveniles of the former species are morphologically different and can be visually distinguished from its sympatric congener L. punctata by having only two fawn, broad stripes dorso-laterally, starting from snout to tail base (vs. three narrow, white stripes and two white dorso-lateral bands in L. punctata) and reddish-brown tail with a black spot at each scale base vs. uniform vibrant red scales in L. punctata. (Ashaharraza pers. comm.) 
CommentSynonyms partly after SMITH 1935. Note that BOULENGER 1887 also included Lacerta punctata LINNAEUS 1758 in his synonymy of Lygosoma punctata which is apparently a synonym of Trachylepis homalocephala.

Description: “...Individuals are secretive and their presence was usually made known by the flash of the bright red tail. The red is present on the tails of all young and half grown specimens, but tends to become completely obsolete in adult animals. [...] In the young tha tail, save in the basal region, is unspotted and of a uniformshade of red. As they grow older, the caudal scales develop small spots (even those on the ventral surface) and gradually the red (sometimes pink) colouration disappears. In the young black spots are contiguous forming continuous lines. On the head the dots are carried forward to the snout but later tend to form a more or less symmetrical pattern on the head scales.” (from TAYLOR 1950).

Type species: Scincus punctatus GMELIN 1799 is the type species of the genus Riopa GRAY 1839. For diagnostic features see MITTLEMAN 1952: 8 and Freitas et al. 2019.

Synonymy: Riopa has been synonymized with Lygosoma by GREER (1977), which was confirmed by Datta-Roy et al. 2014.

Diagnosis (Riopa): some authors such as MANTHEY & GROSSMANN (1997) distinguished Riopa from Lygosoma by the presence of supranasals. Mittleman (1952) differentiated the genus Mochlus from Lygosoma in having a well defined ear opening and from Riopa in lacking a transparent disc in the lower eyelid.

Limb morphology: Reduced limbs.

Distribution: possibly in Bhutan (Lenz 2012). 
Etymology 
References
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