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Nannoscincus mariei (BAVAY, 1869)

IUCN Red List - Nannoscincus mariei - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymAnotis mariei BAVAY 1869: 29
Lygosoma (Leiolopisma) mariae — SMITH 1937: 224
Anotis mariae — GREER 1974: 19
Nannoscincus mariei — SADLIER 1987: 56
Nannoscincus mariei — BAUER & VINDUM 1990
Nannoscincus mariei — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995
Nannoscincus mariei — SADLIER et al. 2014 
DistributionNew Caledonia (Mt. Koghis, Goro Plateau)

Type locality: “Nouvelle-Calédonie” (by implication).  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.17.79 (formerly, designated by Sadlier 1986. Paralectotypes: MNHN 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Nannoscincus mariei can be distinguished from all other members of the genus by the following combination of characters: frontoparietals paired; loreal single; left oviduct lost in females; lower eyelid 'scaled'; ear opening absent; body scales with 3-4 fine, longitudinal, striations; adult body colour relatively uniform with little or no difference in tone between the dorsal and lateral surfaces; presacral vertebrae 29-32; phalangeal formula for pes Nannoscincus mariei is a distinctive species, aside from the suite of derived character states above it also has an enlarged terminal scale to the digits (Sadlier 1986 - Fig. 78) - the significance of this character is unknown, other than the claw appears to retract within the scale to some degree (Sadlier et al. 2002: 238).

DESCRIPTION: (based on 9 specimens from the east coast of New Caledonia examined by Sadlier (1985) and a further 40 specimens from the west coast ranges) Measurements are given for specimens with a SVL of 30 mm or greater (n = 39), these being considered of adult size. For the purpose of this review of Nannoscincus mariei certain aspects of scalation (scales on top of fourth finger, lamellae beneath fourth finger, scales on top of fourth toe, division of the basal dorsal finger scales) are based only on the material at hand in the Australian Museum (Sadlier et al. 2002: 238).

Measurements: maximum SVL 46 mm; distance from axilla to groin 58.5-65.6% of SVL ( = 62.0, n = 39); distance from forelimb to snout 28.9-36.4% of SVL ( = 33.3, n = 39); hindlimb length 17.9-26.1 % of SVL ( = 22.1, n = 29); tail length 100% of SVL (n = 1) (Sadlier et al. 2002: 238).

Scalation: prefrontals present, very small and widely separated; supracilialies 7 (91.7%, n = 48) or 8 (7.3%), rarely 6, contact between first supraciliary and frontal variable; ear opening absent; body scales with 3-4 fine striations, midbody scale rows 18-24 ( = 20.9, sd. =1.36, n = 48); paravertebral scales 49-62 ( =55.5, sd. = 2.74, n = 48); scales on top of fourth finger 3-6 ( = 5.1, sd. = 0.5, n = 40), second, third and fourth fingers either all bordered by single,
transversely enlarged scale at the base, or with a single small scale at the base of the second digit and a Single transversely enlarged scale at the base of third and fourth digits only; lamellae beneath fourth finger 3-5 ( =3.5, sd. = 0.5, n = 39); scales on top of fourth toe 7-8 ( = 7.15, sd. = 0.34, n = 40); lamellae beneath fourth toe 10-14 ( =11.6, sd. =1.03, n =49) (Sadlier et al. 2002: 239).

Colouration: dorsal and lateral colour mid to dark brown, uniform or occasionally with numerous, small, scattered, pale spots on the body and head, more rarely two-toned with a lighter, well defined, dorsal surface and faint dark markings along the dorsolateral and vertebral axis. Dark dorsolateral markings usually poorly defined, extending from the back of the eye to level of the hindlimbs, breaking up and becoming ill-defined along the tail. Ventral surface pale with scattered brown markings at the ventrolateral edge, and irregular brown markings to the throat (Sadlier et al. 2002: 239).

Variation: geographic variation was observed in size, several scalation characters, and osteology. Broad-scale regional variation in scalation was evident between populations from the east coast and those from the west coast and western ranges. A pooled sample comprising specimens from Ngoye and Yate on the east coast had significantly fewer mid body scale rows ( = 19.1 vs 21.3, t46 = 5.480, P<0.001), paravertebral scales ( = 51.6 vs 56.4, t46 =6.712, P<0.001), and fourth toe lamellae ( =10.8 vs 11.6, t47 = 2.158, P<0.05), than a pooled sample from the west coast and ranges comprising specimens from the Koghis range (<200 m and 500 m), Mt Mou (250 m and >1000 m), and Mt Dzumac (900 m).
On the western side of the island finer scale regional variation was observed between the two largest samples each represented by more than 10 specimens, the sample from low elevation (approximately 250 m) on Mt Mou (n =15) and that from mid elevation (500 m) on nearby Mt Koghis (n = 15). The sample from Mt Mou had significantly more mid body scale rows ( =22.0 vs 20.7, t28 =4.183, P<0.001), more fourth toe lamellae ( =11.S vs 10.6, t29 =6.S10, P<0.001), and fewer presacral vertebrae ( =30.5 vs 31.2, t26 =-3.310, P<0.001) than the Mt Koghis sample. The sample from Mt Koghis all had a Single, transversely enlarged basal scale common to the second, third, and fourth fingers, whereas 70% of the specimens from the low elevation sample from Mt Mou had a single small scale at the base of the second digit and a single transversely enlarged scale at the base of third and fourth digits only. However, both specimens from low elevation at the base of the Koghis range (Yahoue Valley) differed from the mid elevation Mt Koghis sample in having the same condition as the Mt Mou mode for the scales at the base of the digits on the manus. Further specimens are required from low elevation on the Koghis range to see whether this trend is typical. The condition of the scales at the base of the fingers has yet to be assessed on specimens from the east of the island.
At a local scale there was an obvious difference in size between high (1000 m) and low (250 m) elevation samples on Mt Mou. The largest specimen from a sample of 5 collected near the summit of Mt Mou had a SVL of 46 mm compared to 40 mm from a sample of 15 specimens collected at approximately 250 m on that mountain. Two specimens collected from 900 m on nearby Mt Dzumac were as large or larger (SVL 41 &: 43 mm) than any specimen collected from low elevation on the west coast (Sadlier et al. 2002: 239). 
CommentSynonymy: Nannoscincus fuscus GÜNTHER 1872: 42 has been removed from the synonymy of N. mariei by SADLIER 2014.

Abundance: Common where it is found.

Distribution: see map in SADLIER et al. 2014: 54. 
EtymologyNamed after E. A. Marie (1835-1889), a French collector who traveled in New Caledonia (1869), Guadeloupe (1874), and Madagascar (1878). 
  • Adler,G.H.; Austin,C.C. & Dudley,R. 1995. Dispersal and speciation of skinks among archipelagos in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Evolutionary Ecology 9: 529-541 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A. M. & SADLIER, R. A. 2000. The herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Contributions to Herpetology, 17; Society for Study Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
  • Bauer, A.M. & Sadlier,R.A. 1993. Systematics, biogeography and conservation of the lizards of New Caledonia. Biodiv. Lett. 1: 107-122 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Vindum, Jens V. 1990. A checklist and key to the herpetofauna of New Caledonia, with remarks on biogeography. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 47 (2): 17-45 - get paper here
  • Bavay,A. 1869. Catalogue des Reptiles de las Nouvelle - Caledonie et description d'especes nouvelles. Memoires Societe Linniene de Normandie 15: 1-37
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Langner, C. 2015. Auf der Suche nach Neukaledonischen Riesengeckos. Reptilia (Münster) 20 (113): 34-44 - get paper here
  • Sadlier R A 1987. A review of the scincid lizards of New Caledonia. Rec. Austral. Mus. 39(1) 1987: 1-66 [1986] - get paper here
  • Sadlier, R. A., A. M. BAUER & A. H. WHITAKER 2002. The scincid lizard genus Nannoscincus from New Caledonia in Southwest Pacific: a review of the morphology and distribution of species in the Nannoscincus mariei species group, including the description of three new species from Province Nord. Zoologica Neocaledonica 5. Systématic et endemisme en Nouvellee-Calédonie. pp 233-255. J. Naut & P. Grandcolas (Eds). Memoires du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Vol. 187 , Paris
  • Sadlier, R.A., Bauer, A.M., and Whitaker, A.H. 2002. The scincid lizard genus Nannoscincus Günther from New Caledonia in the southwest Pacific: a review of the morphology and distribution of species in the Nannoscincus mariei species group, including the description of three new species from the Provin Zoologica Neocaledonia 5, Mem. Mus. Natl. Hist. Nat. 187:269-276.
  • 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.
  • Smith, M.A. 1937. A review of the genus Lygosoma (Scincidae: Reptilia) and its allies. Records of the Indian Museum 39 (3): 213-234
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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