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Madascincus pyrurus MIRALLES, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES, 2016

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymMadascincus pyrurus MIRALLES, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES 2016
Scelotes igneocaudatus – BLANC 1967
Scelotes igneocaudatus – BRYGOO 1981 (partim)
Amphiglossus igneocaudatus – BRYGOO 1984 (partim)
Amphiglossus igneocaudatus – WHITING et al. 2004
Amphiglossus igneocaudatus – SCHMITZ et al. 2005
Madascincus igneocaudatus – GLAW & VENCES 2007 (partim)
Madascincus igneocaudatus – CROTTINI et al. 2009 (partim)
Madascincus igneocaudatus – MIRALLES et al. 2011 (partim)
Madascincus igneocaudatus – MIRALLES et al. 2011 (partim)
Madascincus igneocaudatus – MIRALLES et al. 2011
Madascincus igneocaudatus C clade – MIRALLES and Vences 2013
Madascincus sp. “igneocaudatus” central clade – MIRALLES et al. 2015 
DistributionC Madagascar (Fianarantsoa), elevation 1648 - 1922 m in Itremo, and up to 2252 m in Ibity.

Type locality: Mont Ibity, approximately at 20°14’S, 47°03’E, 1700–1800 m above sea level, Fianarantsoa province, central Madagascar.  
Reproductionoviparous. On Mont Ibity, 6 eggs of M. pyrurus have been collected at the end of December which measured 18 × 12 mm, the hatched juveniles measuring 25 mm SVL (Blanc and Blanc 1967, Brygoo 1984). In contrast, in M. igneocaudatus, developed juveniles have been found in a female dissected from Ifaty, indicating that the sister species of M. pyrurus, endemic to the dry low-lands of the western coast, is viviparous (Glaw and Vences 2007). Interestingly, the different modes of reproduction observed in these two sister species appear to be in contradiction with the trend usually observed in lizard taxa having both oviparous and viviparous species/populations: typically, evolution to viviparity in these groups is interpreted as local adaptation to cold climates, either at high altitude or latitude (Pianka and Vitt 2003). 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 520/2001 (MV 2001-445), adult male, collected on 10 March 2001 by M. Vences, D.R. Vieites, L. Raharivololoniaina and D. Ra- kotomalala. Paratypes (n=7). MNHN 1980-1217, Mont Ibity, Fi- anarantsoa province, central Madagascar, coll. by Y. Thérézien and R. Capuron; ZSM 518–519/2001 (MV 2001-441, 2001-444), UADBA uncatalogued (MV2001.442 and 443), same data as holotype; ZSM 521/2001 (MV 2001-611), UADBA uncatalogued (MV2001.610), Itremo (camp, 20°36’08’’S, 46°34’16’’E, 1648 m a.s.l.), Fianarantsoa province, coll. on 10 March 2001 by M. Vences, D.R. Vieites, L. Raharivololoniaina and D. Rakotomalala. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of the genus Madascincus based on its molecular phylogenetic relationships (see Fig. 1). Within the genus Madascincus, M. pyrurus is distinguished from all its congeners by the following combination of characters: medium body size with a maximum snout-vent length (SVL) of 54.2 mm (versus, in smaller species, a maximum SVL of 33.6 mm in M. nanus complex); 71–79 rows of paravertebral scales (versus 51–62 in M. melanopleura, 57–65 in M. minutus, 52–62 in M. ankodabensis, 60–65 in M. mouroundavae, and 50–57 in M. nanus complex); 73–78 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, 65–73 in M. miafina, 63–66 in M. mouroundavae); 15–18 subdigital lamellae under the fourth toes (versus 5–8 in M. nanus complex, 9–13 in M. minutus, 18–23 in M. miafina and 12–15 in M. ankodabensis); 22–24 rows of scales around midbody (versus 18–20 in M. nanus complex, 28–30 in M. mouroundavae, 24–26 in M. igneocaudatus and 30–32 in M. stumpffi); pentadactyl forelimbs (versus 3–5 digits in M. nanus complex; 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. mouroundavae, and in half (52.8%) of the specimen examined of M. stumpffi); the frontal is always separated from the interparietal (versus most often (87.5%) fused in M. mouroundavae); lower eyelid window is spectacled (versus scaly in M. arenicola, M. nanus, M. mouroundavae, M. polleni, M. miafina and M. stumpffi), the presence of two (21.4%) or three (78.6%) rows of enlarged nuchal scales (versus absence or presence of a single row in M. nanus, M. mouroundavae, M. miafina and M. stumpffi). More specifically, M. pyrurus differs from its sister species M. igneocaudatus in having a shorter and rounder snout (versus a relatively long and pointed snout usually characterizing semi-fossorial species found in sandy habitat) and in being oviparous (versus viviparous). More generally, M. pyrurus can also be easily distinguished from all the other members of the genus Madascincus by its very characteristic pattern of coloration, being the only species with six well-defined very dark stripes (a pair of thin dorsal, a pair of wide upper lateral and a pair of thin lower lateral stripes) running along the body, and one of the few species (together with M. miafina and M. igneocaudatus) in which the tail might be bright red in some specimens (see also Tables 1 and 2 in Miralles et al. 2016). 
CommentVariation. For variation in measurements and scale characters see Table 1. Some variation is evident with respect to tail coloration which may be bronze or reddish (cf. Fig. 4D, E) and ventral coloration which may be maculated by small black dots or uniformly whitish (Blanc and Blanc 1967).

Habitat: dry environments on two massifs in the central highlands of Madagascar, in Mont Ibity and in Itremo (Fig. 5 in Miralles et al. 2016), dominated by rock outcrops and tapia woodlands (loose forests of Uacapa bojeri trees); under stones on usually somewhat sandy substrate (quartz sand especially on Mont Ibity), in open areas. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet pyrurus is based on Greek roots pûr (πῦρ) and ourá (οὐρά), respectively meaning “fire” and “tail”. This word is here treated as invariable noun and has the same meaning as an other specific epithet in the genus, igneocaudatus, which is based on Latin roots. This epithet has been chosen to highlight the morphological similarity of M. igneocaudatus and M. pyrurus, both these sister species being characterized by a tail which may be red and reminding fire. 
  • Brygoo,E.R. 1981. Systématique des lézards scincides de la région malgache. IX. Nouvelles unités taxinomiques pour les Scelotes s.l. Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris, 4th ser., Sect. A., 3 (4): 1193-1204
  • Brygoo,E.R. 1984. Systématique des lézards scincides de la région malgache. XV. Gongylus igneocaudatus A. GRANDIDIER 1867, et Scelotes intermedius BOETTGER 1913. Les Amphiglossus du groupe igneocaudatus. Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris, 4th ser., Sect. A., 6 (3): 779-789
  • Crottini, Angelica; Janina Dordel, Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw, Andreas Schmitz, Miguel Vences 2009. A multilocus phylogeny of Malagasy scincid lizards elucidates the relationships of the fossorial genera Androngo and Cryptoscincus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53 (1): 345-350 - get paper here
  • Kwet, Axel 2017. Neue Arten: Liste der im Jahr 2016 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2017 (3): 54-70 - get paper here
  • Miralles, A.; Köhler, J.; Glaw, F. & Vences, M. 2011. A molecular phylogeny of the “Madascincus polleni species complex”, with description of a new species of scincid lizard from the coastal dune area of northern Madagascar. Zootaxa 2876: 1–16 - get paper here
  • Miralles, Aurélien & Miguel Vences 2013. New Metrics for Comparison of Taxonomies Reveal Striking Discrepancies among Species Delimitation Methods in Madascincus Lizards. PLoS One 8 (7): e68242. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0068242 - get paper here
  • Miralles, Aurélien; Köhler, Jörn; Vieites, David R. 2011. Hypotheses on rostral shield evolution in fossorial lizards derived from the phylogenetic position of a new species of Paracontias (Squamata, Scincidae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution 11: 135-15 - get paper here
  • MIRALLES, AURÉLIEN, ACHILLE P. RASELIMANANA, DOMOINA RAKOTOMALALA, MIGUEL VENCES & DAVID R. VIEITES 2011. A new large and colorful skink of the genus Amphiglossus from Madagascar revealed by morphology and multilocus molecular study. Zootaxa 2918: 47–67 - 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
  • Schmitz, A.; M.C. Brandley; P. Mausfeld; M. Vences; F. Glaw; R.A. Nussbaum and T.W. Reeder 2005. Opening the black box: phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the Malagasy fossorial lizards of the subfamily “Scincinae”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 118–133 (published online 2004) - get paper here
  • Whiting, A.S.; Jack W. Sites, Jr. & Aaron M. Bauer 2004. Molecular phylogenetics of Malagasy skinks (Squamata: Scincidae). African Journal of Herpetology 53(2): 135-146 - get paper here
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