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Oligosoma aureocola KNOX, PATTERSON & CHAPPLE, 2023

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymOligosoma aureocola KNOX, PATTERSON & CHAPPLE 2023: 275 
DistributionNew Zealand (northern Southland)

Type locality: Mataura Range (45° 39’S, 168° 35’E), 950m elevation.  
TypesHolotype. NMNZ RE008659 (female) (coll. C. Knox, 16 Mar 2022).
Paratypes. Mataura Range (45o 39’S, 168o 35’E), NMNZ RE008661 (female) (coll. C. Knox, 16 Mar 2022); Mataura Range (45o 39’S, 168o 35’E), NMNZ RE008660 (female) (coll. C. Knox, 16 Mar 2022). 
EtymologyOligosoma aureocola in reference to the skinks’ frequent use of golden speargrass (Aciphylla aurea). Epithets ending in -cola stand for “inhabitant of”. These epithets can be in the masculine or feminine gender and are used as a nominative in apposition. Accordingly, their gender does not reflect the gender of the genus name (which is neuter). A. aurea is found throughout the South Island of New Zealand, usually in mountainous areas. Individual plants of A. aurea may be up to 100 cm tall and consist of sharp spiky yellowish-green leaves which make a good shelter for lizards. Vernacular name ‘Mataura skink’ refers to the Mataura Range where the species was first found, as well as the Mataura River, which abuts to the north of the prominent peak Mid Dome, where the species was subsequently found in February 2022. 
  • KNOX, C., PATTERSON, G. B., & CHAPPLE, D. G. 2023. Oligosoma aureocola sp. nov.(Reptilia: Scincidae) from the northern Southland high country of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Zootaxa 5285 (2): 271-292 - get paper here
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