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Mesalina austroarabica SINDACO, SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, SACCHI & CARRANZA, 2018

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymMesalina 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  
TypesHolotype: 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. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: 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). 
CommentHabitat: 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). 
EtymologyThe species epithet “austroarabica” is an adjective that refers to the geographic range of its populations, distributed across southern Arabia. 
  • Arnold E N 1980. The scientific results of the Oman flora and fauna survey 1977 (Dhofar). The reptiles and amphibians of Dhofar, southern Arabia. JOURNAL OF OMAN STUDIES SPECIAL REPORT (No. 2): 273-332 - get paper here
  • Arnold E N 1986. A key and annotated checklist to the lizards and amphisbaenians of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8: 385-435
  • Carranza S, Xipell M, Tarroso P, Gardner A, Arnold EN, Robinson MD, et al. 2018. Diversity, distribution and conservation of the terrestrial reptiles of Oman (Sauropsida, Squamata). PLoS One 13 (2): e0190389 - get paper here
  • Carranza, Salvador; Johannes Els; Bernat Burriel-Carranza 2021. A field guide to the reptiles of Oman. Madrid : Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 223 pp. [review in HR 53 (3): 531] - get paper here
  • Gardner, A.S. 2013. The amphibians and reptiles of Oman and the UAE. Edition Chimaira, 480 pp.
  • Kapli, P., Lymberakis, P., Crochet, P.-A., Geniez, P., Brito, J. C., Almutairi, M., Ahmadzadeh, F., Schmitz, A., Wilms, T., Pouyani, N. R., Poulakakis, N. 2014. Historical biogeography of the lacertid lizard Mesalina in North Africa and the Middle East. Journal of Biogeography, doi: 10.1111/jbi.12420 - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
  • SINDACO, ROBERTO; MARC SIMÓ-RIUDALBAS, ROBERTO SACCHI, SALVADOR CARRANZA 2018. Systematics of the Mesalina guttulata species complex (Squamata: Lacertidae) from Arabia with the description of two new species. Zootaxa 4429 (3): 513–547 - get paper here
  • van der Kooij, Jeroen 2001. The herpetofauna of the Sultanate of Oman: Part 3: The true lizards, skinks and monitor lizards. Podarcis 2 (1): 15-26 - get paper here
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