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Mesalina rubropunctata (LICHTENSTEIN, 1823)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Red-spotted Lizard 
SynonymLacerta rubropunctata LICHTENSTEIN 1823: 100
Scapteira nebulosa GRAY 1838: 281
Mesalina lichtensteini GRAY 1838: 282
Eremias rubropunctata — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 297
Mesalina rubropunctata — GRAY 1845
Eremias rubropunctata — LOVERIDGE 1936: 62
Eremias rubropunctata — BONS 1959
Eremias rubropunctata — PAPENFUSS 1969: 276
Eremias rubropunctata — JOHANN 1981
Mesalina rubropunctata — SZCZERBAK 1989
Mesalina rubropunctata — BAHA EL DIN 1992
Mesalina rubropunctata — SCHLEICH, KÄSTLE & KABISCH 1996: 425
Mesalina rubropunctata — IBRAHIM 2008 
DistributionMorocco,Western Sahara, Algeria, S Tunisia ?, Libya, Egypt, W Sinai, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad ?, Sudan (Jumhūriyyat)

Type locality: “Aegypt. et Nubia”.  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 1115, 1116 (Egypt) etc. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Head shields normal; occipital shield usually present; lower nasal in contact with first supralabial only; nostril between 3 nasals and widely separated from supralabials; sometimes 2 or more transparent shields in lower eyelid; abdominal plates in parallel longitudinal rows [Hosseinian Yousefkhani et al. 2015]

Diagnosis: Head and body rather strongly depressed. Head width is 83% of head length, its length 81% snoutvent length in males, 4 to 5 times in females, its depth equal to the distance between the center of the eye and tympanum; snout pointed, with the nasal shields strongly swollen, equal in length to the postocular part of the head; canthus rostralis sharp, loreal region feebly concave; a more or less distinct concavity in the middle of the upper surface of the snout, extending to the middle of the frontal shield. Neck as broad as head. Addpressed hindlimb reaching the collar or between the collar and the ear, rarely the ear in males; the elbow, the axil, the collar, or a little beyond, in females; foot 92% of the length of head; toes moderately slender, not compressed. Tail 88% of the length of head and body. First and fourth supraoculars small or broken into granules; 6 to 8, rarely 5, superciliaries, first longest, separated from the two large supraoculars by one or two series of anterior granules and anterior, 2 to 5 posterior one, rarely one throughout. Three nasals, lower in contact with the rostral and the first upper labial, posterior small and very rarely excluded from the nostril; usually 4, sometimes 5, upper labials anterior to the subocular, which is keeled below the eye and largely borders the mouth, its lower border much shorter than the upper; temporal scales small, granular, lower larger; a small tympanic shield often present; no auricular denticulation. Lower eyelid with a semitransparent disc formed of 5 to 8 scales, 2 or 3 of which are sometimes large. 26 to 35 gular scales in a straight line between the symphysis of the chin-shields and the median collar-plate; dorsal scales juxtaposed, granular, smooth, larger towards the ventrals, 53 to 67 (usually 58 to 63) across the middle of the body. Ventral plates in 12, rarely 10 or 14, straight longitudinal rows, and 32 to 37 transverse series, mostly as long as broad or a little broader than long. Femoral pores 13 to 22 on each side, usually 14 to 20. Subdigital lamella bi-, tri-, or quadricarinate, usually 18 to 23 under the fourth toe. Upper caudal scales distinctly oblique; 26 to 32 scales in the fourth or fifth whorl. Sexual maturity may be reached in the second year. It also has been reported (Schleich et al., 1996) that the scorpion Androctonus amoureuxi is a major predator of the juveniles, which have been found with wounds inflicted by termite soldiers (Schleich et al., 1996). Food consists of ants and small Coleoptera, especially tenebrionids, although in captivity they will take crickets. 
CommentType species: Mesalina lichtensteini GRAY 1838 (= Lacerta rubropunctata LICHTENSTEIN 1823) is the type species of the genus Mesalina GRAY 1838. 
  • Angel, M.F. 1932. Sur Quelques Reptiles et Batraciens du Sahara. Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat, Paris (Ser. 2) 4 (4): 385-387 - get paper here
  • Baha El Din, S M 1992. Notes on the herpetology of north Sinai. British Herpetological Society Bulletin (41): 9-11
  • Baha el Din, S. 2006. A guide to the reptiles and amphibians of Egypt. The American University in Cairo Press, Cairo. xvi + 359 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M.; Jonathan C. DeBoer , Dylan J. Taylor 2017. Atlas of the Reptiles of Libya. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 64 (8): 155-318 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Günther, Rainer 1995. An annotated type catalogue of the lacertids (Reptilia: Lacertidae) in the Zoological Museum, Berlin. Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berlin 71 (1): 37-62 - get paper here
  • Bischoff, W. 2004. Mesalina rubropunctata (Lichtenstein, 1823) – Hammada-Wüstenrenner Die Eidechse 15(3): 91-93. - get paper here
  • Bons, J. 1959. Les lacertiliens du sud-ouest Marocain; systematique, repartition geographique, ethologie, ecologie. Instit. Sci. Cherifien, Rabat, Trav. (Ser. Zool.) no. 18 130 pp.
  • 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
  • Geniez, P.; Mateo, J.A.; Geniez, M. & Pether, J. 2004. The amphibians and reptiles of the Western Sahara (former Spanish Sahara) and adjacent regions. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 228 pp. [reviewed in Reptilia GB 44: 81]
  • 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
  • Ibrahim, Adel A. 2008. Contribution to the herpetology of southern Libya. Acta Herpetologica 3 (1): 35-49
  • Joger, U. & Mayer, W. 2002. A new species of Mesalina (Reptilia: Lacertidae) from Abd al-Kuri, Socotra Archipelago, Yemen, and a preliminary molecular phylogeny for the genus Mesalina. Fauna of Arabia 19: 497-505
  • Johann, H. 1981. Herpetologische Eindrücke auf einer Reise durch die Sahara. Herpetofauna 3 (13): 17-21 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Lichtenstein, M. HINRICH C. 1823. Verzeichniss der Doubletten des zoologischen Museums der Königl. Universität zu Berlin nebst Beschreibung vieler bisher unbekannter Arten von Säugethieren, Vögeln, Amphibien und Fischen. Königl. Preuss. Akad. Wiss./ T. Trautwein, Berlin. x, 118 pages - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1936. African reptiles and amphibians in the Field Museum of Natural History. Zool. Ser. Field Mus. Nat. Hist., Chicago, 22 (1): 1-122 - get paper here
  • Martínez del Mármol, Gabriel; D. James Harris, Philippe Geniez, Philip de Pous, and Daniele Salvi 2019. Amphibians and Reptiles of Morocco. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 478 pp - get paper here
  • Milto, Konstantin D. 2017. New Records of Reptiles on the Red Sea Coast, Egypt, with Notes on Zoogeography. Russ. J. Herpetol. 24 (1): 11-21 - get paper here
  • Milto, Konstantin D.; Samy A. Saber, Abdullah M. Nagy, Roman A. Nazarov, Daniel A. Melnikov, Natalia B. Ananjeva 2019. First Report on the Reptile Diversity of Wadi El Gemal National Park, Eastern Desert, Egypt. Russ. J. Herpetol. 26 (3): 175-184 - get paper here
  • Padial, J. M. 2006. COMMENTED DISTRIBUTIONAL LIST OF THE REPTILES OF MAURITANIA (WEST AFRICA). Graellsia, 62(2): 159-178 - get paper here
  • Papenfuss, T. J. 1969. Preliminary analysis of the reptiles of arid central West Africa. Wasmann Journal of Biology 27:249—325 - get paper here
  • Schleich, H.H., Kästle,W., Kabisch, K. 1996. Amphibians and Reptiles of North Africa. Koeltz, Koenigstein, 627 pp.
  • Schnurrenberger, Hans 1963. Fishes, amphibians, and reptiles of two Libyan oases. Herpetologica 18 (4): 270-273 - get paper here
  • Shcherbak, N.N. [= Szczerbak] 1975. Katalog afrikanskikh Jaszczurok [Catalog of African sand lizards [Eremiainae]]. Akad. Sci. Ukrain. SSR, Zool. Inst., Zool. Mus.: 2-83
  • Simó-Riudalbas, M., Tamar, K., Šmíd, J., Mitsi, P., Sindaco, R., Chirio, L., & Carranza, S. 2019. Biogeography of Mesalina (Reptilia: Lacertidae), with special emphasis on the Mesalina adramitana group from Arabia and the Socotra Archipelago. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
  • Stephen Spawls; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - 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
  • 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, Y.L. & Ashkenazi, S. 2010. Notes on some Egyptian Lacertidae, including a new subspecies of Mesalina, involving the Seligmann effect. Turkish Journal of Zoology 34: 123-133 - get paper here
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