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Nannoscincus koniambo SADLIER, BAUER, WHITAKER & WOOD, 2014

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymNannoscincus koniambo SADLIER, BAUER, WHITAKER & WOOD in SADLIER et al. 2014 
DistributionNew Caledonia (Massif de Koniambo)

Type locality: Massif de Koniambo, head- waters of Rivière Pandanus 20°59’40”S 164°48’41”E, 720 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype. MNHN 2011.0283 (formerly AMS R.171460) (19 Jan. 2009; R. Sadlier).
Paratype. AMS R.141461 Massif de Koniambo, headwaters of Creek Coco (south Branch) 20°58’32”S 164°47’50”E, 670 m (20 Jan. 2009; A. Whitaker). 
CommentDiagnosis: Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. can be distinguished from all other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: frontoparietals fused; loreal single; left oviduct lost in females; lower labials five; lower eyelid with a semi-translucent window; ear opening minute; body scales smooth; adult dorsal color two toned; ear opening positioned two scales posterior to lower secondary temporal; presacral vertebrae 32; phalangeal formula for manus 2.3.4.4.3.; phalangeal formula for pes 2.3.4.5.3.
The first five characters readily distinguish N. koniambo n. sp. from N. gracilis, N. sleveni, and N. garrulus, all of which have divided frontoparietals, six lower labials, two loreals (the anterior semilunar and failing to contact the labials), a right and left oviduct, and a (secondarily) scaled lower eyelid.
Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. shares the apomorphic character states of a single loreal, loss of the left oviduct, and reduction to five lower labials with eight other species (N. mariei s.s.; N. fuscus; N. greeri; N. rankini; N. humectus, N. hanchisteus, N. exos and N. manautei). The presence of a minute ear opening will distinguish N. koniambo n. sp. from N. mariei and N. fuscus, both of which have no obvious ear opening, and it can be further distinguished from these two species by the presence of a “windowed” (vs scaled) lower eyelid and fused (vs paired) frontoparietals. The smooth body scales of N. koniambo n. sp. will readily distinguish it from N. greeri, N. mariei, N. fuscus and N. rankini all of which have 3-4 fine striations on the body scales. Further, N. koniambo n. sp. has a two-toned adult color pattern, whereas the coloration of adult N. rankini, N. manautei, N. mariei and N. fuscus is predominately uniformly dark.
Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. most closely resembles N. humectus, N. hanchisteus, and N. exos in having a two-toned adult color pattern and smooth body scales. It can readily be distinguished from N. exos by having an increased number of phalanges on the 4th digit of the pes (2.3.4.5.3 vs 2.3.4.4.3) and a lower number of midbody scale rows (20 vs 22). It can readily be distinguished from N. humectus by the positioning of the ear opening two (vs three) scales posterior to lower secondary temporal and in subtleties in coloration in which the dorsolateral edge defining the point of contact between the dark lateral and paler dorsal surfaces is clean and unbroken (vs rough edged). Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. shares most of the traits of N. hanchisteus. The characteristics distinguishing the two taxa are subtle and include for Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. a more gracile habitus, overall darker coloration of the lateral surfaces of the body and head (very dark brown vs light-mid brown) and extensive dark medial marking to the rostral scale (most of scale and extending onto frontonasal vs lower margin of the scale with a slight inflexion back medially), and marginally more lamellae beneath the 4th digit of the pes (15-16 vs 13-14).
The level of genetic differentiation between Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. and its congeners in the ‘mariei group’ is of similar magnitude to that between all species in the group, all of which are also diagnosable as distinct species on morphological criteria. As such, this level of genetic differentiation provides strong support for recognition of N. koniambo n. sp. as an evolutionary lineage distinct from all other members of the genus. However, relationships between this species and other members of the ‘mariei group’ retrieved in the molecular phylogeny are problematic. Nannoscincus koniambo n. sp. is well supported as the sister taxon of N. mariei in the phylogeny and N. fuscus as a separate lineage, yet on morphological criteria N. mariei and N. fuscus share a unique and distinctive suite of apomorphies that clearly indicates these species are sister taxa. 
EtymologyThe epithet is a noun in apposition in reference to the type locality, the Massif de Koniambo. The content and order of authors for the description of the new species reflects the individual contributions of those individuals to the discovery and recognition of that species. 
References
  • SADLIER, Ross A.; Aaron M. BAUER, Perry L. WOOD Jr., Sarah A. SMITH, Anthony H. WHITAKER & Todd JACKMAN 2014. Cryptic speciation in the New Caledonian lizard genus Nannoscincus (Reptilia: Scincidae) including the description of a new species and recognition of Nannoscincus fuscus Gunther. Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 206: 45-68.
 
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