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Madascincus miafina MIRALLES, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES, 2016

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymMadascincus miafina MIRALLES, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES 2016
Scelotes intermedius – BRYGOO 1981 (partim)
Amphiglossus intermedius – BRYGOO 1984 (partim)
Madascincus intermedius – GLAW & VENCES 2007 (partim)
Madascincus polleni “clade 1”– MIRALLES et al. 2011
Madascincus polleni “polleni-N clade” – MIRALLES & VENCES 2013
Madascincus sp. “polleni” northern clade – MIRALLES et al. 2015 
DistributionN Madagascar (Antsiranana)

Type locality: near Petit Tsingy, 12°57’25’’S, 49°07’06’’E, 90 m above sea level, Ankarana Special Reserve, Antsiranana province, north Madagascar  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 1562/2008 (FGZC 1658), adult male, collected on 16 February 2008 by M. Franzen, F. Glaw, J. Köhler and Z. Nagy. Paratypes (n=23, all from Antsiranana province, north- ern Madagascar). ZSM 242/2004 (FGZC 474), 245/2004 (FGZC 480), Montagne des Français, 12°19’34’’S, 49°20’09’’ E, 334 m a.s.l., coll. on 23 and 24 February 2004 by F. Glaw, M. Puente and R.D. Randrianiaina; UADBA uncatalogued (FGZC, 1788, 1789), Montagne des Français, coll. by Frontier staff at unknown date; ZSM 1571/2008 (FGZC 1766), 1572/2008 (FGZC 1844), Baie des Sakalava (ca. 5 km SE Ramena), 12°16.371’S, 49°23.338’E, 28 m a.s.l., coll. on 22 and 26 February 2008 by S. Megson; ZSM 1573–1577/2008 (FGZC 1678, 1680, 1687, 1836, 1838), UADBA uncatalogued (FGZC 0481, 1677, 1684, 1762, 1763, 1835), Montagne des Français (pitfall lines 1, 2 & 5, no coordinates available), coll. on 19 and 25 February 2008 by N. D’Cruze and local col- lectors; ZSM 259/2004, Montagne des Français, coll. on 18–28 February 2004 by F. Glaw, M. Puente, R.D. Randri- aniaina and A. Razafimanantsoa; ZSM 1570/2008 (FGZC 1917), Ampombofofo region, 12°05.571’S, 49°19.035’E (trapsite 5), coll. on 23 February 2007 by S. Megson; ZSM 1563/2008 (FGZC 1827), same data as holotype, but col- lected by a local assistant on 24 February 2008; UADBA uncatalogued (FGZC 1742, 1768, 1840), Orangea, coll. in February 2008 by S. Megson. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A member of the genus Madascincus based on its molecular phylogenetic relationships (see Fig. 1). Within the genus Madascincus, M. miafina is distinguish- able from all its congeners by the following combination of characters: medium body size with a maximum snout- vent length (SVL) of 61.0 mm (versus, in smaller species, a maximum SVL of 33.6 mm in M. nanus complex, 47.4 mm in M. minutus, 50.5 mm in M. ankodabensis, 53.5 mm in M. melanopleura); 65–79 rows of paravertebral scales (versus 51–62 in M. melanopleura, 57–65 in M. minutus, 52–62 in M. ankodabensis, 60–65 in M. mou- roundavae, and 50–57 in M. nanus complex); 65–73 rows of ventral scales (versus 55–63 in M. minutus, 56–61 in M. melanopleura, 52–60 in M. nanus complex, 59–63 in M. ankodabensis, 63–66 in M. mouroundavae, 73–78 in M. pyrurus, 74–78 in M. polleni and 75–80 in M. aren- icola); 18–23 subdigital lamellae under the fourth toes (versus 5–8 in M. nanus complex, 9–13 in M. minutus, 12–15 in M. ankodabensis, 12–16 in M. melanopleura and 15–18 in M. pyrurus); 24–26 rows of scales around midbody (versus in M. nanus complex, 28–30 in M. mou- roundavae, 22–24 in M. pyrurus and 30–32 in M. stumpffi); pentadactyl forelimbs (versus 3–5 digits in M. nanus complex); and most often (89.3%) the presence of post- nasal scales (always absent in M. arenicola). The frontal is bell-shaped (versus hourglass-shaped in M. nanus, M. minutus, M. melanopleura, M. ankodabensis, M. mou- roundavae, and in half (52.8%) of the specimens exam- ined of M. stumpffi); the frontal is always separated from the interparietal (versus most often (87.5%) fused in M. mouroundavae). The lower eyelid window is scaly (ver- sus spectacled in M. igneocaudatus, M. pyrurus, M. minu- tus, M. melanopleura and M. ankodabensis); absence in most specimens (92.3%) of a single row of enlarged nu- chal scales (versus presence of at least two rows in M. igneocaudatus, M. pyrurus and M. minutus). More gen- erally, M. miafina can be distinguished from all the other species (with exception of M. polleni) by its apparently very conserved pattern of coloration, characterized by a single pair of lateral dark brown stripes relatively large and well-defined anteriorly, then progressively breaking up into two parallel very thin dashed lines posteriorly to forelimbs, hardly distinguishable from the rest of the dots covering the body.

Madascincus miafina differs from its sister species M. arenicola by a paler coloration, with lateral lines well de- fined anteriorly, becoming one – or two parallel – very thin dashed line posteriorly to forelimbs (versus a very contrast- ed coloration in M. arenicola, characterized by the pres- ence of a pair of two-scale wide dark lateral lines extending from snout to hindlimbs, well defined all along the body) and by a relatively shorter snout, rounded in lateral aspect (versus a relatively long snout, acute in lateral aspect, in M. arenicola). It also differs by a lower number of ventral scales (65–73 vs. 75–80 in M. arenicola). Moreover, M. miafina is one of the few species (together with M. pyrurus and M. igneocaudatus) in which the tail might be bright red in some specimens (see also Tables 1 and 2). Morpholog- ically, the species most similar to M. miafina is M. polleni (including its junior synonym M. intermedius); this species is identical in coloration, body shape, and body size to M. miafina despite not being the direct sister species, differing only by the number of ventrals (Miralles et al. 2016). 
CommentHabitat: karstic outcrops and sandy soils, leaf litter

Behavior: apparently nocturnal and secretive, as all specimens were exclusively caught by pitfall trapping overnight in forest or shrub areas.

Sympatry: M. arenicola and M. stumpffi. M. arenicola exclusively occurs on sandy soils and M. stumpffi seems to be restricted to forests. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet miafina is the Malagasy word for “secretive”. The name refers to the secretive habits of the species, as all specimens were exclusively trapped by pitfalls and never observed in situ, as well as to the fact that this species was hidden behind several other taxon names in use and could only be discovered by an integrative taxonomic approach. The name is treated as an invariable noun in apposition. 
References
  • Kwet, Axel 2017. Neue Arten: Liste der im Jahr 2016 neu beschriebenen Reptilien Terraria-Elaphe 2017 (3): 54-70 - get paper here
  • Miralles, Aurélien; Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw, Miguel Vences 2016. Species delimitation methods put into taxonomic practice: two new Madascincus species formerly allocated to historical species names (Squamata, Scincidae) Zoosyst. Evol. 92 (2): 257–275; DOI 10.3897/zse.92.9945 - get paper here
 
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