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Oligosoma kokowai MELZER, BELL & PATTERSON, 2017

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Northern spotted skink 
SynonymOligosoma kokowai MELZER, BELL & PATTERSON 2017 
DistributionNew Zealand (Brothers Island)

Type locality: Brothers Island (41° 07’S, 174° 26’E  
Reproductionviviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: NMNZ RE000305, female, (coll. R. Dell, 11 Sep 1948) Paratypes (19 specimens). Brothers Island (41o 07’S, 174o 26’E), 3 specimens (NMNZ RE000307, female; NMNZ RE000308, immature; NMNZ RE000309, male) (coll. C. Lindsay, 11 Sep 1948); Stephens Island (40o 40’S, 174o 00’E), NMNZ RE000313, unknown (coll. C. Lindsay, 13 Sep 1948); Stephens Island - No 3 house (40’S, 174o 00’E), NMNZ RE005217, female (coll. M. Thompson, 06 Nov 1998); St Arnaud (41o 46’S, 172o 44’E), NMNZ RE003999 (S357), male (coll. B. Thomas, 20 Jul 1968); Aniseed valley, Roding River (41o 23’S, 173o 15’E), NMNZ RE006227, immature (coll. G. Patterson, 09 May 1984); St Arnaud (41o 46’S, 172o 44’E), 2 specimens (NMNZ RE004148 (S506), female; NMNZ RE004149 (S507), male) (coll. B. Thomas, 22 Oct 1969); Somes Island (41o 15’S, 174o 53’E), NMNZ RE000909, female (coll. D. Fairfax, 20 Jan 1958); Somes Island (41o 15’S, 174o 53’E), 2 specimens (NMNZ RE005262, female; NMNZ RE005263, male) (coll. K. Neil, Jan 1997); Martinborough (41o 13’S, 175o 27’E), NMNZ RE001009, female (coll. Hewett, Aug 1963); Napier (39o 29’S, 176o 55’E), 2 specimens (NMNZ RE003648 (S3), female; NMNZ RE003819 (S177), female) (coll. A. Whitaker, 17 Apr 1966); Cape Turakirae (41o 26’S, 174o 55’E), NMNZ RE004122 (S480), male (coll. A. Whitaker, 07 Aug 1969); Ward Island (41o 18’S, 174o 52’E), NMNZ RE005458, female (coll. R. Ainsworth, 07 Jan 1984); Turakirae Head, Lower Hutt (41o 26’S, 174o 55’E), NMNZ RE006226, male (coll. S. Keall, 12 Jan 1984); Napier (39o 32’S, 176o 55’E), NMNZ RE005320, female (coll. K. Hewitt, 12 Dec 2006). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Although Greaves et al. (2007) distinguished two subclades within this clade based on genetic variation, we could not find any significant morphological differences to warrant splitting them into two species. This species, O. kokowai, can be distinguished from other species in the O. lineoocellatum species complex by a combination of characters. The subdigital lamellae count is usually below 24, compared with O. prasinum and O. elium where it is usually above 24. All the specimens examined had one nuchal pair, in contrast with O. prasinum and O. lineoocellatum which always have more than 1 pair, and O. elium which usually has more than 1 pair. There are significant differences between O. kokowai and O. elium (lower ciliary count, AG/SF), O. lineoocellatum (lower ciliary count, SVL/HW), and O. prasinum (midbody scale count) (Figure 6b). Dorsal ocelli continue down tail unlike in many specimens of O. prasinum and O. elium. Pale dorsolateral stripes are usually much more pronounced than in O. prasinum. The ventral surface is often bright red-orange, unlike any of the other three species. 
EtymologyNamed after the Maori kōkōwai, meaning red or auburn and refers to the colour of the ventral surface of this skink. 
  • MELZER, SABINE; TRENT BELL, GEOFF B. PATTERSON 2017. Hidden conservation vulnerability within a cryptic species complex: taxonomic revision of the spotted skink (Oligosoma lineoocellatum; Reptilia: Scincidae) from New Zealand. Zootaxa 4300 (3): 355–379 [erratum in Zootaxa 4350 (3): 600] - 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.
  • 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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