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Oligosoma inconspicuum (PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY, 1990)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLeiolopisma inconspicuum PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY 1990
Leiolopisma inconspicuum — PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY 1993
Oligosoma inconspicuum — PATTERSON & DAUGHERTY 1995
Oligosoma inconspicuum — HICKSON et al. 2000
Oligosoma sp. 7 (Big Bay skink) JEWELL 2008: 90
Oligosoma sp. 8 (mahogany skink) JEWELL 2008: 91
Oligosoma inconspicuum — CHAPPLE et al. 2011
Oligosoma cf. inconspicuum — JEWELL 2015 
DistributionNew Zealand (Otago, Southland)

Type locality: Tree Island, Lake Wakatipu, 44° 55’ S, 168° 25’ E.  
TypesHolotype: NMNZ R2079, RE002079 fide CHAPPLE et al 2011 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Oligosoma inconspicuum can be distinguished from other related Oligosoma species through a combination of characters (Figure 4; Wessa 2011). Compared to O. maccanni, O. inconspicuum has a glossy appearance, with brown predominating whereas O. maccanni has a greyer ground colour. Oligosoma maccanni has a pale grey ventral colour rather than the yellow or bronze ventral colour seen in O. inconspicuum. The ear opening in O. maccanni often has large projecting scales on the interior margin, whereas these are often minimal or lacking altogether in O. inconspicuum. Longitudinal striping is more pronounced in sympatric populations of O. poly- chroma, which almost always have a pale stripe on the outside of the forelimbs. The ear opening in O. polychroma often has prominent projecting scales on the interior margin. There are statistical differences between O. inconspic- uum and O. burganae sp. nov. (AG/SF, HL/HW, SE/EF, SVL/HL, SVL/FLL), O. notosaurus (SVL/HL, ventral scales), and O. toka sp. nov (SVL/FLL, SVL/HLL ventral scales) (see Figure 4). Unlike O. repens sp. nov. and O. toka sp. nov. which have three supraoculars all O. inconspicuum have four supraoculars. Most O. burganae sp. nov. have only three supraoculars. Oligosoma repens sp. nov. has a more elongate appearance than O. inconspic- uum (e.g. TL/SVL of 1.28 and 1.16, respectively). The number of subdigital lamellae (17–23) is greater in O. inconspicuum compared to O. tekakahu sp. nov. (16) [from CHAPPLE et al. 2011]. 
EtymologyNamed after inconspicuum, Latin for “not readily visible”, referring both to the difficulty in morphologically distinguishing this species from most of the other taxa in the L. nigriplantare species group, and the cryptic behaviour of this species in its natural environment. 
  • CHAPPLE, DAVID G., TRENT P. BELL, STEPHANIE N.J. CHAPPLE, KIMBERLY A. MILLER, CHARLES H. DAUGHERTY & GEOFF B. PATTERSON 2011. Phylogeography and taxonomic revision of the New Zealand cryptic skink (Oligosoma inconspicuum; Reptilia: Scincidae) species complex. Zootaxa 2782: 1–33
  • HICKSON, Robert E.; KERRYN E. SLACK AND PETER LOCKHART 2000. Phylogeny recapitulates geography, or why New Zealand has so many species of skinks. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 70: 415–433 - get paper here
  • Hitchmough, Rodney A.; Geoffrey B. Patterson, and David G. Chapple 2016. Putting a Name to Diversity: Taxonomy of the New Zealand Lizard Fauna. in: Chapple, D.G. (ed). New Zealand Lizards. Springer, pp. 87-108 - get paper here
  • JEWELL, TONY 2015. Insight into the cryptic skink (Oligosoma aff. inconspicuum) species-complex in North Otago. BioGecko (3): 35-42
  • LETTINK, MARIEKE; JIM YOUNG & JOANNE MONKS. 2022. Comparison of footprint tracking and pitfall trapping for detecting skinks. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 46(2): 1–5. - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B. and Daugherty, C.H. 1990. Four new species and one new subspecies of skinks, genus Leiolopisma (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae) from New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 20 (1): 65-84 [erratum p. 252] - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B. and Daugherty, C.H. 1994. Leiolopisma stenotis, n. sp., (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae) from Stewart Island, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 24(1): 125-132. - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B.; Daugherty, C.H. 1995. Reinstatement of the genus Oligosoma (Reptilia: Lacertilia: Scincidae). J. Royal Soc. New Zealand 25 (3): 327-331 - get paper here
  • van Winkel, D., Baling, M. & Hitchmough, R. 2018. Reptiles and Amphibians of New Zealand: A field guide. Auckland University Press, Auckland, 376 pp.
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