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Mesalina saudiarabica MORAVEC, SMID, SCHMITZ, SHOBRAK, WILMS, 2017

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Arabian short-nosed desert lizard 
SynonymMesalina saudiarabica MORAVEC, SMID, SCHMITZ, SHOBRAK, WILMS in SMID et al. 2017 
DistributionSaudi Arabia

Type locality: Mahazat as-Sayd, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia, 22.237N, 41.843E, 1,000 m elevation.  
TypesHolotype: ZFMK 91912, subadult male, collected in October 2006 by T. Wilms. MorphoBank pictures: M407306–M407312. Paratype. ZFMK 86583, subadult male, Mahazat as-Sayd, near Al Muwayh, Makkah Province, Saudi Arabia, 22.395N 41.753E, 960 m a.s.l., collected in October 2006 by T. Wilms. MorphoBank picture: M410851. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A species of Mesalina and a member of the M. brev- irostris species complex as revealed by the genetic analyses and characterised by the following combination of characters: (i) genetic (uncorrected) distance of 2.0% from M. breviro- stris, 2.7% from M. bernoullii and 2.8% from M. microlepis for the 12S (after Gblocks); 2.9% from M. brevirostris, 3.3% from M. bernoullii and 4.0% from M. microlepis for the 16S (after Gblocks); 9.5% from M. brevirostris, 7.5% from M. bernoullii and 10.8% from M. microlepis for the cytb; (ii) low number of dorsal scales (41–42); (iii) low number of col- lar plates (6–8); (iv) low number of preanal scales (2–3); (v) low number of femoral pores in males (12–13); (vi) having 1–2 large semitransparent scales in the lower eyelid window; (vii) in life, dorsum light cinnamon–brown with a pattern of small whitish and larger dark cinnamon spots arranged in more or less regular longitudinal rows. Most of the whitish spots are not edged with dark brown colour. The dark cinna- mon–brown spots predominate on flanks where they form a characteristic longitudinal lateral row that continues onto the tail. Ventral side is bright white, sharply contrasting with the colouration of the dorsum. 
EtymologyNamed after the country where the species occurs. 
  • Šmíd J, Moravec J, Gvoždík V, et al. 2017. Cutting the Gordian Knot: Phylogenetic and ecological diversification of the Mesalina brevirostris species complex (Squamata, Lacertidae). Zoologica Scripta 46: 649– 664 - get paper here
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