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Mesalina ercolinii (LANZA & POGGESI, 1975)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymEremias ercolinii LANZA & POGGESI 1975
Mesalina ercolinii — ARNOLD et al. 1998
Mesalina ercolinii — YOUSEFKHANI et al. 2015
Mesalina ercolini — SPAWLS et al. 2023 
DistributionC Somalia

Type locality: Bud Bud (about 4°12’ N, 46° 28’ E), 70 km S of El Bur, central Somalia.  
TypesHolotype: MZUF 5253 (Museo Zoologico dell’Università di Firenze) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Three nasals; frontal in contact with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd supraoculars; subocular does not contact lip; dorsal head shields nearly smooth; collar straight and free. Dorsal and ventral scales large, in 37 rows across body; scales imbricate and singly keeled at midbody, smooth on flanks; ventral plates in 8 straight longitudinal rows. Toes with three-keeled lamellae; base of tail cov- ered by large and strongly imbricate scales, singly-keeled dorsally and smooth ventrally. Coloration (in preserva- tive): dorsal overall hazel brown; head scalation finely dotted with dark brown or blackish tone; numerous dark brown scales on neck and trunk, some of latter being grouped in 2 paravertebral rows of 9 – 10 spots, each spot edged by 1 – 4 whitish scales laterally and sometimes by 2 – 3 similar scales medially; lateral whitish scales tend to form largely broken supraciliary stripe; irregular, nar- row and indistinct brownish dorsolateral stripe extends from nape to base of tail; continuous whitish subocular stripe with brown edge that runs along neck, consists of 8 – 9 small irregular spots surrounded by some dark brown or blackish scales; limbs dorsally hazel brown; hindlimb has some small whitish, blackish-edged spots which are barely distinct on forelimb; ventrally ivory white (Lanza and Poggesi, 1975; Arnold et al., 1998, Yousefkhani et al. 2015). 
CommentAbundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). This is one of the species called 'lost' and 'rediscovered' by Lindken et al. 2024. 
Etymologynamed after Prof. Antonio Ercolini, zoologist at the University of Florence and a colleague of the authors. 
  • Arnold EN, Lanza B, Poggesi M, Corti C 1998. Notes on the anatomy and phylogenetic position of Eremias ercolinii LANZA & POGGESI 1975 (Reptilia: Lacertidae). Tropical Zoology 11 (2): 235-240 - get paper here
  • Hosseinian-Yousefkhani, Seyyed Saeed; Gabriel M.D. Marmol Marin, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani, Eskandar Rastegar-Pouyani 2015. A Bibliographic Recompilation of the Genus Mesalina Gray, 1838 (Sauria: Lacertidae) with a Key to the Species. Russ. J. Herpetol. 22 (1): 23-34 - get paper here
  • Lanza B, Poggesi M 1975. On a new Eremias from central Somalia. Mon. Zool. Ital. (n.s.) Suppl. 6: 305-312 - get paper here
  • Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1988] - get paper here
  • Lindken T.; Anderson, C. V., Ariano-Sánchez, D., Barki, G., Biggs, C., Bowles, P., Chaitanya, R., Cronin, D. T., Jähnig, S. C., Jeschke, J. M., Kennerley, R. J., Lacher, T. E. Jr., Luedtke, J. A., Liu, C., Long, B., Mallon, D., Martin, G. M., Meiri, 2024. What factors influence the rediscovery of lost tetrapod species? Global Change Biology, 30: 1-18 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Spawls, Stephen; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
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