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Melanoseps occidentalis (PETERS, 1877)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
SubspeciesMelanoseps occidentalis zairensis BRYGOO & ROUX-ESTEVE 1982
Melanoseps occidentalis occidentalis (PETERS 1877) 
Common NamesWestern Limbless Skink 
SynonymHerpetosaura occidentalis PETERS 1877: 416
Scelotes occidentalis — WERNER 1898
Melanoseps occidentalis — TORNIER 1901: 62
Scelotes schebeni STERNFELD 1910
Scelotes occidentalis — DE WITTE & LAURENT 1942
Scelotes schebeni — DE WITTE & LAURENT 1943
Melanoseps schebeni — BRYGOO & ROUX-ESTEVE 1982
Scelotes schebeni — WELCH 1982
Melanoseps occidentalis — BRYGOO & ROUX-ESTEVE 1982
Melanoseps occidentalis — BROADLEY 1998
Melanoseps occidentalis — WHITING et al. 2003 
DistributionCameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, C/E/S Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), Angola, Central African Republic

Type locality: “Cameruns (W. Africa)” [= Cameroon],

schebeni: Namibia; Type locality: Winduk [= Windhoek]  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 9122
Holotype: ZMB 28898, the only known specimen of schebeni, is lost (fide BRYGOO & ROUX-ESTEVE 1982, Bauer 2016) [schebeni]
Holotype: MHNG 2072.67; paratypes: MHNG, MNHN [zairensis] 

Scelotes schebeni is missing both forelimbs AND hindlimbs (Danny Meirte, pers. comm., 12 Apr 2013).

Synonymy: Sternfeld 1911 already synonymized schebeni with M. occidentalis, which has been confirmed by Bauer 2016. 
EtymologyThe specific name occidentalis (Latin) refers to the western distribution of this species. 
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M. 2016. On the taxonomic status of two enigmatic southern African fossorial skinks, Scelotes bicolor and S. schebeni African Journal of Herpetology 65 (1): 33-38 | DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2016.1138149 - get paper here
  • Broadley, D.G. 1998. The reptilian fauna of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa). In: Schmidt, K.P. and Noble, G.K., Contributions to the Herpetology of the Belgian Congo... [reprint of the 1919 and 1923 papers]. SSAR Facsimile reprints in Herpetology, 780 pp.
  • Brygoo E R; Roux-Esteve R 1982. Un genre de lezards scincines d'Afrique: Melanoseps. Bulletin du Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle SECTION A ZOOLOGIE BIOLOGIE ET ECOLOGIE ANIMALES 3 (4) 1981: 1169-1191
  • Chirio, L. & Lebreton, M. 2007. Atlas des reptiles du Cameroun. MNHN, IRD, Paris 688 pp.
  • Chirio, Laurent and Ivan Ineich 2006. Biogeography of the reptiles of the Central African Republic. African Journal of Herpetology 55(1):23-59. - get paper here
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Pauwels, O.S.G. & Vande Weghe, J.P. 2008. Les reptiles du Gabon. Smithsonian Institution, Washington: 272 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters, W. 1878. Herpetologische Notizen. I. Uber die von Spix in Brasilien gesammelten Eidechsen des Königlichen NaturalienKabinets zu München. Monatsber. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1877: 407-415 - get paper here
  • Sternfeld,R. 1910. Eine neue Echse aus Deutsch-Südwestafrika. Sitzungsber. Ges. naturf. Freunde Berlin (8): 372 - get paper here
  • Tornier, G. 1901. Die Reptilien und Amphibien der Deutschen Tiefseeexpedition 1898/99. Zool. Anz. 24:61—66 - get paper here
  • Trape, J.F.; Trape, S. & Chirio, L. 2012. Lézards, crocodiles et tortues d'Afrique occidentale et du Sahara. IRD Orstom, 503 pp. - get paper here
  • Werner, FRANZ 1898. Verh. Wien. Zool.-Bot. Ges. 1898: 530
  • Whiting, A.S.; Aaron M. Bauer and Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships and limb loss in sub-Saharan African scincine lizards (Squamata: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29 (3): 582-598 - get paper here
  • Witte, G. F. de & R. LAURENT 1942. Contribution à la Faune Herpétologique du Congo belge. Rev. Zool. Bot. Afr. 36 (2): 101-115
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