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Meroles knoxii (MILNE-EDWARDS, 1829)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Knox's Desert Lizard, Knox's Ocellated Sand Lizard 
SynonymLacerta Knoxii MILNE-EDWARDS 1829: 85
Meroles knoxii — GRAY 1838: 282
Eremias Knoxii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 299
Scapteira knoxii — BOULENGER 1887: 109
Scapteira knoxi — ROUX 1907
Scaptira knoxii — ROSE 1926: 493
Scaptira knoxii pequensis HEWITT 1935: 324
Sciptira knoxii knoxii — FITZSIMONS 1943: 362
Meroles knoxii — SZCZERBAK 1989
Meroles knoxii pequensis — SZCZERBAK 1989
Meroles knoxii — HARRIS et al. 1998
Meroles knoxii — EDWARDS et al. 2013 
DistributionSouth Africa (western Cape province, Great Namaqualand) and adjacent outermost SW Namibia

Type locality: “Cape of Good Hope”  
TypesType: lost (fide FITZSIMONS 1943); but according to Boulenger (1921, p. 353) there are '6 specimens from Delalande's collection in the Paris Museum, incorrectly labelled as types. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus). The inclusion of M. squamulosus requires the genus to be redefined. Head shields normal and usually smooth (rugose in squamulosus), but occipital often very small or absent; nostril pierced between three nasals and widely separated from 1stupper labial; subocular not bordering mouth; lower eyelid scaly, without window; collar distinct (absent in squamulosus); gular fold absent; dorsal scales granular, juxtaposed or subimbricate, (but rhombic, strongly keeled and imbricate in squamulosus); ventral plates smooth, not or feebly imbricate, posterior borders straight; digits subcylindrical, compressed or depressed (feebly compressed in squamulosus), laterally serrated, denticulated or fringed (except in squamulosus); subdigital lamellae smooth or keeled (pluricarinate and spinolose in squamulosus), femoral pores present; parietal foramen present (absent or feebly marked in squamulosus); and tail long and cylindrical (in knoxii, suborbitalis and squamulosus) or depressed basally and feebly compressed distally [from EDWARDS et al. 2013]. 
CommentSubspecies: FITZSIMONS 1943 listed Scaptira knoxii pequensis HEWITT 1935 as subspecies (Type locality: Lüderitzbucht). SZCZERBAK 1989 listed Meroles knoxii pequensis (Type locality: Bay of Lüderitz, Southwest Africa). However, BISCHOFF 1991 does not list any subspecies which is why we inlcuded it in the synonymy.

Type species: Meroles knoxii (Milne-Edwards 1829) is the type species of the genus Meroles GRAY 1838. 
EtymologyNamed after Dr. Robert Knox (1791-1862), a physician, anatomist, natural scientist, and traveler. 
  • Arnold, E.N. 1991. Relationships of the South African lizards assigned to Aporosaura, Meroles and Pedioplanis (Reptilia: Lacertidae). Journal of Natural History 25: 783–807 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Branch, William R. 1994. Herpetofauna of the Sperrgebeit [sic] Region of Southern Namibia. Herpetological Natural History 2 (1): 1-11.
  • Cooper Jr., W.E. 2005. Duration of movement as a lizard foraging movement variable. Herpetologica 61 (4): 363-372 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Fraser M. 2023. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, Western Cape, South Africa. Biodiversity Observations 13: 162–185. 14 March 2023 - get paper here
  • Harris, D. James; E. Nicholas Arnold, and Richard H. Thomas 1998. Rapid Speciation, Morphological Evolution, and Adaptation to Extreme Environments in South African Sand Lizards (Meroles) as Revealed by Mitochondrial Gene Sequences. Mol Phylogenet Evol. 10 (1): 37–48 - 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
  • Hewitt, John 1911. Records of South African Lacertilia and Amphibia, Addenda and Corrigenda. Annals Transvaal Museum 3 (1): 42-55. - get paper here
  • MARITZ, B. 2012. Meroles knoxii Milne-Edwards, 1829 Forced Copulation. African Herp News (57): 17 - get paper here
  • Milne-Edwards, M.H. 1829. Recherches zoologiques pour servir à l'histoire des lézards, extraites d'une monographie de ce genre. Ann. Sci. Nat. Paris 16: 50-89 - get paper here
  • Pérez I de Lanuza G, Font E 2016. The evolution of colour pattern complexity: selection for conspicuousness favours contrasting within-body colour combinations in lizards. J Evol Biol. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12835 - get paper here
  • Plessis, I.J. du and P.leF.N. Mouton 2011. Habitat Preferences of Three Sympatric Lacertid Lizards in the Arid Tankwa Karoo Basin of South Africa. African Zoology 46 (1): 88-94 - get paper here
  • Rose, Walter 1926. Some Notes on the Lizards of the Cape Peninsula. Annals of the South African Museum 20 (6): 491-494.
  • Roux,J. 1907. Beiträge zur Kenntnis der Fauna von Süd-Afrika. Ergebnisse einer Reise von Prof. Max Weber im Jahre 1894. VII. Lacertilia (Eidechsen). Zool. Jahrb., Abt. Syst., Geogr. Biol. Tiere (Jena), 25: 403-444 - get paper here
  • Szczerbak, Nikolai N. 1989. Catalogue of the African Sand lizards (Reptilia: Sauria: Eremiainae: Lampreremias, Pseuderemias, Taenieremias, Mesalina, Meroles). Herpetozoa 1 (3/4): 119-132. - get paper here
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