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Microlophus peruvianus (LESSON, 1830)

IUCN Red List - Microlophus peruvianus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaTropiduridae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesMicrolophus peruvianus salinicola (MERTENS 1956)
Microlophus peruvianus peruvianus (LESSON 1830) 
Common NamesE: Peru Pacific Iguana
G: Peru-Wüstenkielschwanzleguan 
SynonymStellio peruvianus LESSON 1830: 40
Lophyrus araucanus LESSON 1830: 39 (fide ORTIZ-ZAPATA 1980)
Tropidurus microlophus WIEGMANN 1834: 223
Steirolepis microlophus — FITZINGER 1843
Steirolepis peruviana — FITZINGER 1843
Steirolepis xanthostigma TSCHUDI 1845
Microlophus inguinalis — COPE 1876: 36
Microlophus peruvianus — COPE 1876: 36
Tropidurus peruvianus — BOULENGER 1885: 174
Tropidurus (Microlophus) peruvianus — STEINDACHNER 1902: 100
Tropidurus — PETERS et al. 1970: 267
Tropidurus peruvianus — DIXON & WRIGHT 1975: 3
Microlophus peruvianus — FROST 1992
Microlophus peruvianus — SCHLÜTER 2002

Microlophus peruvianus salinicola (MERTENS 1956)
Tropidurus peruvianus salinicola MERTENS 1956: 108 
DistributionSW Ecuador, W Peru

Type locality: Callao and Payta, Peru.  
Reproductionoviparous. The clutch sizes of northern sample are 3 to 5 (4.1) eggs, salinicola. 2 to 3 (2.3) eggs, and peruvianus, 2 to 5 (3.5) eggs. 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 6873
Holotype: SMF 50217, male [salinicola] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Following Frost et al. (2001) and Carvalho et al. (202X). (1) head relatively small, body and tail not compressed latero-laterally; (2) body not extremely flattened dorso-ventrally; (3) skull not highly elevated at the level of the orbits; (4) premaxilla not broad; (5) nutritive foramina of maxilla not striking enlarged; (6) lingual process of dentary absent, not extending over lingual dentary process of coronoid; (7) angular not strongly reduced; (8) medial centrale present; (9) sternal fontanelle present; (10) circumorbitals distinct from other small supraorbital scales; (11) one enlarged subocular plus one (occasionally divided) preocular; (12) well-defined postmental scale series; (13) antegular fold present or absent; (14) projecting tufts of elongate, spiny scales on the neck absent; (15) dorsal background gray, brown, or olive; (16) dorsals keeled, ventrals smooth; (17) enlarged middorsal scale row forming a dorsal crest (except in part of the M. peruvianus group: M. atacamensis, M. heterolepis, M. quadrivittatus, M. theresiae); (18) “flash” marks on pre-cloacal region and underneath thighs of males absent; (19) tail autotomic, terete, not strongly mucronate; (20) fourth finger longer than third; (21) lateral fringe not developed on both sides of fourth toes; (22) hemipenes with apical disks (except in M. koeckeorum); (23) rupicolous or psammophilous (based on Frost 1992: 48, modified by O. Torres-Carvajal, pers. comm. 2021).

Diagnosis: Tropidurus peruvianus is distinguished from members of the occipitalis group by having small, granular dorsolateral scales, rather than large, keeled and imbricate dorsolateral scales. Within the peruvianus group, peruvianus is distinguished from Ihoracicus by the presence of one row of scales between the nostril scale and the first labial and bold black chevrons on the throat in males, rather than two or more rows of scales between the nasal scale and the first labial and no distinct black chevrons on the throat of males; from Iheresiae by the presence of an enlarged vertebral row of scales and the absence of an orange-red eye ring; from tigris by having distinct black throat chevrons in males and small scales on the upper arm without free projecting spines, rather than distinct black, transverse rows of spots on the throat of males and large scales on the upper arm with free projecting spines at the posterior tip. 
CommentSubspecies: Peters et al. (1970) listed 9 subspecies, many of which have been elevated to full species status since then. The status of salinicola is unclear to us.

Habitat: rock cliffs, bluffs, outcrops, mud cliffs, salt crust beaches, sand dunes, and sand flats, with or without vegetation.

Type species: Microlophus Lessoni DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837 is the type species of the genus Microlophus DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1837.

Phylogenetics: for a phylogeny of Microlophus see Benavides et al. 2007 and Torres-Carvajal et al. 2021. 
EtymologyThe species was named after its distribution in Peru.

The genus is probably named after the (relatively) small (”micro”) spines on the neck and back on this and other species. From Greek “lophos” = neck, hair tuft, tip (or mountain top), (probably) referring to the dorsal spines.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Catenazzi, Allessandro. 2006. Microlophus peruvianus Saurophagy. Herpetological Review 37 (1): 90 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1878. Synopsis of the cold blooded Vertebrata, procured by Prof. James Orton, during his exploration of Peru in 1876-77. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 17: 33-49 [1877] - get paper here
  • Dixon, J.R. & WRIGHT,J.W. 1975. A review of the lizards of the iguanid genus Tropidurus in Peru. Contributions in Science (Los Angeles) (271): 1-39 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1837. Erpétologie Générale ou Histoire Naturelle Complete des Reptiles. Vol. 4. Libr. Encyclopédique Roret, Paris, 570 pp. - get paper here
  • Frost, Darrel R. 1992. Phylogenetic analysis and taxonomy of the Tropidurus group of lizards (Iguania: Tropidurudae). American Museum Novitates (3033): 1-68 - get paper here
  • Goldberg, S.R. & Bursey, C.R. 2009. Helminths from seven species of Microlophus (Squamata: Tropiduridae). Salamandra 45 (2): 125-128 - get paper here
  • HARVEY, Michael B. & RONALD L. GUTBERLET JR 2000. A phylogenetic analysis of the tropidurine lizards (Squamata: Tropiduridae), including new characters of squamation and epidermal microstructure. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 128: 189–233. - get paper here
  • Lehr, E. 2002. Amphibien und Reptilien in Peru. Natur und Tier-Verlag (Münster), 208 pp. - get paper here
  • Lehr, E.; Köhler, G. & Streit, B. 2002. Die Herpetofauna von Mittelperu entlang eines Transektes von der pazifischen Küste bis in die Hochanden (Amphibia et Reptilia). Faun. Abh. Mus. Tierk. Dresden 22 (2): 361-392
  • Lesson, R.P. 1830. Description de quelques reptiles nouveaux ou peu connus. In: M.L.I. Duperrey, Voyage Autour du Monde Execute par Ordre du Roi, sur la Corvette de La Majeste, La Coquille, Pendant les Annees 1822, 1823, 1824 et 1825. 2. Zoologie Tome 2, Partie 1. Arthur Bertrand, Paris: 1-65 [published 1829 fide Ivan Ineich] - get paper here
  • Mendoza A, Pérez J, Alvarado E, Barrera D, Castillo E, Fernandez M, Milla J, Olivera D, Ramirez C, Santa Cruz R, Salazar E, Torres-Ccasani G, Aguilar-Puntriano C. 2023. Anfibios y reptiles del departamento de Ica con comentarios sobre su distribución. Revista peruana de biología 30(1): e23425 001- 014 (Marzo 2023)
  • Mertens, R. 1956. Studien über die Herpetofauna Perus I. Zur Kenntniss der Iguaniden-Gattung Tropidurus in Peru. Senckenbergiana biologica 37: 101-136
  • Ortiz,J.C. 1980. Le statut taxinomique de Lophyrus araucanus LESSON 1831 (Sauria, Iguanidae). Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris (4) 2 (2): 599-601
  • Peters, James A.; Donoso-Barros, Roberto & Orejas-Miranda, Braulio 1970. Catalogue of the Neotropical Squamata: Part I Snakes. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 297: 347 pp. - get paper here
  • Schlüter, U. 2000. Wüstenkielschwanzleguane aus Peru. Draco 1 (4): 44-49
  • Schlüter, U. 2002. Das Leguanportrait: Microlophus peruvianus (LESSON 1826). Iguana Rundschreiben 15 (1): 5-7
  • Steindachner, Franz 1902. Herpetologische und ichthyologische Ergebnisse einer Reise nach Südamerika mit einer Einleitung von Therese Prinzessin von Bayern. Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien (Mathematisch-naturwissenschaftliche Klasse) 72: 89–148 - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal, Omar; Paula A. Castaño; Francisco Moreno 2021. Comparative Phylogeography of Floreana's Lizards Supports Galápagos Pleistocene Paleogeographical Model and Informs Conservation Management Decisions. Journal of Herpetology 55 (3): 285-291 - get paper here
  • Toyama, Ken Sebastian 2016. Evidence of adaptive evolution in the cranial morphology of Tropidurid lizards from coastal Peru. Herpetology Notes 9: 47-53 - get paper here
  • Tschudi,J. J. von 1845. Reptilium conspectum quae in republica Peruana reperiuntur er pleraque observata vel collecta sunt in itenere. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 11 (1): 150-170 [reprint 1968, SSAR; sometimes cited as being published in 1846]. - get paper here
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