Oligosoma judgei PATTERSON & BELL, 2009
Can you confirm these amateur observations of Oligosoma judgei?
|Higher Taxa||Scincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Common Names||Barrier skink|
|Synonym||Oligosoma judgei PATTERSON & BELL 2009|
Oligosoma sp. ‘Barrier’ — BELL et al 2008
Oligosoma sp. ‘Barrier’ — BELL & PATTERSON 2008
|Distribution||New Zealand (Darran and Takitimu Mountains, South Island)|
Type locality: Barrier Knob, Darran Mountains, Fiordland; 44° 38’20.00” S 168° 01’30.00” E at 1600m elevation.
|Types||Holotype: NMNZ RE6878 Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of NZ; adult male, 80.5 mm SVL, 87.4 mm tail length of which 4.5 mm was regrown, coll. T. Bell, March 2008 (Figure 4 in PATTERSON & BELL 2009).|
|Comment||Diagnosis. Oligosoma judgei can be distinguished from all congeners by a combination of characters. The coloration is similar only to O. grande, O. waimatense and O. acrinasum. O. judgei has fine green or yellow dorsal speckles against a black dorsal base colour, a black dorso-lateral band with green or yellow lateral speckles, and a white ventral surface speckled occasionally with black. In O. waimatense dark blotches on the dorsal surface are made up of smaller spots forming transverse bands – no such patterning is evident in O. judgei. The maximum SVL of O. judgei is significantly less than for O. grande, O. waimatense and O. otagense. The ear opening is approximately 32% wider than in O. grande (SVL/ear diameter = 44 in O. grande [n=4], O. judgei holotype = 58 [diameter could not be measured accurately in paratype]), and separated from primary temporal by 6 scale rows in O. judgei vs 4 scale rows in O. grande. The nearest genetically-related species are each further separated by distinct counts of mid-body scale rows (O. judgei 44– 50 vs O. pikitanga 38; O. infrapunctatum 29–37; O. taumakae 32–34; O. acrinasum 37–38), ventral scale rows (O. judgei 90–97 vs O. pikitanga 78–88), subdigital lamellae (O. judgei 24–25 vs O. pikitanga 20–23; O. acrinasum 16–19) and the relative size of the dorsal scales (O. judgei smaller than ventrals vs larger in O. infrapunctatum).|
We now consider in greater detail differentiation from O. pikitanga which is genetically very similar to O. judgei (see below). Morphological evolution and molecular evolution are often not closely linked in the New Zealand lizard fauna and there are numerous examples of cryptic species (similar morphology, but genetically distinct) and ‘morphological’ species (morphologically distinct, but genetically similar) (Hitchmough 1997; D. Chapple pers comm. 2008). Two examples of the latter are H. kahutarae, which is genetically a very close sister species to H. granulatus, yet morphologically and ecologically very distinct, and the genus Naultinus, for which genetic diversity is so shallow that some proponents have suggested that the seven recognised taxa are conspecific (Hitchmough 1997; Chambers et al 2001; Hitchmough 2008). However in Naultinus, morphological differences strongly support retaining the presently recognised species (Hitchmough 1997, 2008) [from PATTERSON & BELL 2009].
|Etymology||The specific epithet ‘judgei’ refers to Murray and Bronwyn Judge, the rock climbers who have explored and climbed the Darran Mountains for over 30 years, and rediscovered this skink species in 2005, after 39 years of obscurity. The common name ‘Barrier skink’ refers to the type locality in the Barrier Knob, Darran Mountains.|
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