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Mesaspis cuchumatanus SOLANO-ZAVALETA, NIETO-MONTES DE OCA & CAMPBELL, 2016

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesEnglish: Cuchumatanes Alligator Lizard
Spanish: Escorpioncillo de los Cuchumatanes 
SynonymMesaspis cuchumatanus SOLANO-ZAVALETA, NIETO-MONTES DE OCA & CAMPBELL 2016 
DistributionGuatemala (Huehuetenango: Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes)

Type locality: Cerro Bobic, near San Mateo Ixtatán, Sierra de Los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, Guatemala (15°50’34.57’’ 0N, 91°30’42.33’’W), elevation 2,958 m  
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesHolotype. UTA R-46096 (original field no. MEA-1645A), an adult male, collected 20 August 1998 by Manuel Acevedo.
Paratypes.—Thirty-eight specimens from the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. UTA R-27392– 27393, 17.1 km (by road) SW San Juan Ixcoy, 3,260 m; UTA R-27394–27396, 11.1 km (by road) NW Santa Eulalia, 2,760 m; UTA R-36584–36585, 36589, 5.4 km WSW San Mateo Ixtata ́n, 2,975 m; UTA R-41607, 41610, 3.2 km WSW Patacal, 2,761 m; UTA R- 41616, 5.6 km E San Mateo Ixtatán, 2,475 m; UTA R-41617–41619, along road to Patacal, 5.0 km (by road) NW intersection of Guatemala Road 9N (near San Mateo Ixtata ́n), 2,835 m; UTA R- 41621–41622, 5.6 km NW jct of San Mateo Ixtata ́ n to Barillas road and road to Nentón, 2,780–2,800 m; UTA R-46014–46018, 12.9 km N Chiantla, ca. 2,900 m; UTA R-46019–46021, 7.2 km SE Todos Santos, 2,860 m; UTA R-46097–46105, topotypes; MVZ 143480, 143484, 21.8 km N Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango–Barillas Road; MVZ 143469, 14347, stream below Captzin at km 311 on Huehuetenango-Barillas Road; MVZ 143472, 4.5 km E (by road) Todos Santos on Todos Santos-Paquix Road. 
CommentSimilar species: M. moreletii, especially the juveniles and subadults of this species.

Distribution: see map in SOLANO-ZAVALETA et al. 2016: 333 (Fig. 4).

Sympatry: M. m. temporalis in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes and Montañas del Cuilco. Other sympatric species include Abronia frosti, Norops crassulus, Sceloporus taeniocnemis, Thamnophis fulvus, and Cerrophidion godmani (Campbell et al., 1998).

Habitat: The main vegetation types reported for the Cuchumatanes are lower montane wet forest, subtropical wet forest, lower montane dry forest, lower montane moist forest, lower montane wet forest, and montane wet forest (Holdridge, 1959). Mesaspis cuchumatanus has been taken mostly in the latter three kinds of forest, which occur at high elevations. A predominance of Abies guatemalensis forest occurs between 2,900–3,400 m, while at 3,000–3,800 m there prevails a mixed forest of Juniperus standleyi and Pinus hartwegii (Islebe et al., 1994, 1995; Steinberg and Taylor, 2008). The known elevational distribution for M. cuchumatanus is 2,760 m (UTA R-27394–27396) to 3,260 m (UTA R-27392–27393), so it is highly probable that the species is present in a variety of recognized forest types. This species appears to be exclusively terrestrial, as are other members of the genus, and can be found under surface debris or active on the surface. The species has been taken along the edges or forest clearings or in areas that have been recently felled (SOLANO-ZAVALETA et al. 2016). 
EtymologyThe species name is taken from the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes, the most extensive mountain range in Central America. 
References
  • Solano-Zavaleta, Israel; Adrián Nieto-Montes de Oca,Jonathan A. Campbell 2016. A New Species of Mesaspis (Squamata: Anguidae) from the High Cuchumatanes of Guatemala Journal of Herpetology 50 (2): 327-336 - get paper here
 
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