Mesalina austroarabica SINDACO, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, SACCHI & CARRANZA, 2018
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|Higher Taxa||Lacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)|
|Synonym||Mesalina austroarabica SINDACO, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, SACCHI & CARRANZA 2018|
Mesalina adramitana — ARNOLD 1980: 307 (part.)
Mesalina adramitana — ARNOLD 1986: 426 (part.)
Mesalina adramitana — SINDACO & JEREMCENKO 2008: 261 (part.)
Mesalina adramitana — GARDNER 2013: 292 (part)
Mesalina ayunensis — VAN DER KOOIJ 2001: 20 (part.)
Mesalina spec. — VAN DER KOOIJ 2001: 21
Mesalina guttulata — KAPLI et al. 2015: 6
Mesalina sp. 1 — CARRANZA et al. 2018
Type locality: Oman, Dhofar Governorate, Jebel Samhan at 17.1161°N, 54.7131°E WGS84 (about 16 km E of Tawi Atair), 1,321 m elevation
|Types||Holotype: MCCI R1611, Adult male, 4 January 2010, R. Sindaco, C. Grieco, A. Venchi leg. Paratypes. Two adult males and an adult female MCCI-R1624/1-3, same locality as the holotype, 19 November 2010, R. Sindaco, C. Grieco, A. Venchi leg.; a female (ONHM4331), same locality as the holotype, 30 April 2011, S. Carranza, E. Gómez-Díaz, F. Amat leg.; a male MCCI-R1810, Jebel Samhan at 17.1597°N, 54.8069°E WGS84, 1,594 m a.s.l., 14 October 2013, S. Carranza, M. Metallinou, R. Sindaco, J. Šmíd, R. Vasconcelos leg.; a male NMP6V-74966/1 and a young NMP6V-74966/2 Jebel Samhan at 17.1494°N, 54.9757°E WGS84, 233 m a.s.l., same date and collectors as MCCI-R1810.|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. A small-sized Mesalina characterized by the following combination of morphological characters: (1) well-developed occipital scale in contact with the interparietal (Fig. 5E); (2) lower eyelid with a window made up of two large scales edged with black (Fig. 5D); (3) curved collar (Fig. 5F); (4) four upper labials in front of the subocular (Fig. 5D); (5) ventral plates in 8 straight longitudinal rows, the outermost much smaller (almost indistinct in MCCI-R1624) (Fig. 5B); (6) scales on the upper surface of the tibia keeled (Fig. 5A); (7) lamellae under 4th toe, 20-21; (8) dorsal coloration of adult, brown-greyish, with incomplete black-and-white ocelli (the white dots are not completely surrounded by black, but only flanked by specks on one or either sides), ordered in irregular longitudinal and transverse rows (Fig. 5A); (9) bluish tail in juvenile specimens.|
There are no obvious diagnostic characters separating M. austroarabica sp. nov. from M. guttulata, M. bahaeldini and from the populations from the highlands of southwestern Arabia (M. sp. A in Arnold 1986a) described below. Statistical analyses (see Results above) show significant differences from M. guttulata in having smaller SVL (males), larger %HL (males and females) and larger %HW (females). Mesalina austroarabica sp. nov. shows significant differences from M. bahaeldini in having smaller SVL (males), less dorsals at midbody (males and females), and larger %HL and %forelimb length (females). Mesalina austroarabica sp. nov. shows significant differences with the populations from the highlands of southwestern Arabia (M. sp. A in Arnold 1986a) that is described herein, in having smaller SVL (males), less enlarged plates in the collar (males), less dorsals at midbody (males), less transverse rows of ventrals (males), less femoral pores (males), larger %HW (males and females), larger %forelimb length (males), larger value of Lamellae percSVL (males and females), larger %HL (females), larger %hindlimb length (females), larger %4th toe length (females).
|Comment||Habitat: The type locality is a flat area (possibly a filled sinkhole) close to an escarpment, very scarcely vegetated, surrounded by low rocky hills covered by shrubs. Specimens were active among stones at the base of hills’ slopes.|
Distribution: see map in Sidnaco et al. 2018: 515 (Fig. 1).
|Etymology||The species epithet “austroarabica” is an adjective that refers to the geographic range of its populations, distributed across southern Arabia.|
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