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Oligosoma taumakae CHAPPLE & PATTERSON, 2007

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesOpen Bay Islands skink 
SynonymOligosoma taumakae CHAPPLE & PATTERSON 2007
Oligosoma taumakae — HITCHMOUGH et al. 2016 
DistributionNew Zealand (Open Bay Islands)

Type locality: Taumaka Island, Open Bay Islands (43°52′S, 168°53′E).  
ReproductionOligosoma taumakae is believed to be viviparous. 
TypesHolotype: NMNZ RE5237 (National Museum of New Zealand, Wellington), collected by P. A. Van Klink in December 1998). 
CommentDiagnosis: Oligosoma taumakae is recognised using both the phylogenetic (Fig. 4) and genotypic cluster species concepts (see Coyne & Orr 2004). Since O. taumakae is allopatric from its congeners, the biological species concept is not applicable. The new species can be distinguished from its closest relatives (O. acrinasum, O. infrapunctatum, O. otagense, O. waimatense; see “Mitochondrial DNA analyses”) on the basis of several characteristics. Its coloration differs from O. acrinasum, O. otagense and O. waimatense, which do not have brown coloration. Although coloration is very similar in both O. taumakae and O. infrapunctatum, a lower pale stripe is usually more distinct in O. infrapunctatum, and there is less flecking on the brown dorsolateral stripe compared to O. taumakae. Oligosoma taumakae is superficially similar in appearance to some specimens of O. infrapunctatum. However, foot size clearly distinguishes these two species, with FTL approximately 25% greater in O. taumakae compared to O. infrapunctatum of similar SVL (SVL/FTL: O. taumakae 8.27 [n = 2], O. infrapunctatum SVL/FTL 10.24 [n = 10]). There is also no overlap in supraciliary count, with 5 in O. taumakae compared with 6–9 in O. infrapunctatum (Hardy 1977; this study). Another feature of O. taumakae is an enlargement of several upper ciliary scales to form a flap overhanging the eye, which is more pronounced than in O. infrapunctatum. Several body ratios also appear to differ between O. taumakae and its closest relatives (see Table 2), although the small number of available O. taumakae specimens precludes statistical analyses. The midbody scale count of O. taumakae (32–34) has no overlap with O. acrinasum (37–38), O. waimatense (50–68), or O. otagense (46–72) (Table 2). Since the geographic ranges of O. acrinasum, O. waimatense and O. otagense do not overlap with O. taumakae (Fig. 2), and O. taumakae is the only skink species present on the Open Bay Islands, identification of this new species should prove relatively straightforward. 
EtymologyFrom Taumaka Island, the type locality. 
  • Chapple, D.G.; Patterson, G.B. 2007. A new skink species (Oligosoma taumakae sp. nov.; Reptilia: Scincidae) from the Open Bay Islands, New Zealand. New Zealand J. Zool. 34: 347-357
  • 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
  • Lettink, M.; G, Hopkins; RL, Wilson 2013. A significant range extension and sanctuary for the rare Open Bay Island skink (Oligosoma taumakae). New Zealand Journal of Zoology 40 (2): 160-165 - get paper here
  • Patterson, G.B. & Bell, T.P. 2009. The Barrier skink Oligosoma judgei n. sp. (Reptilia: Scincidae) from the Darran and Takitimu Mountains, South Island, New Zealand. Zootaxa 2271: 43–56 - get paper here
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