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Ophiodes luciae CACCIALI & SCOTT, 2015

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Higher TaxaDiploglossidae, Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesLucy’s Worm Lizard 
SynonymOphiodes luciae CACCIALI & SCOTT 2015 

Type locality: Departamento Presidente Hayes, 35 km NE and across the Paraguay River from Antequera, (Departamento San Pedro), Paraguay (23°53’18”S, 57°19’23”W) (Fig. 3 in CACCIALI & SCOTT 2015).  
TypesHolotype. MNHNP 9685 (Figs. 1–2), adult female, collected 22 January 1995 by E. Bongermini, T. Waller, R. Palacios, and P. Micucci. Field number ALA 2073. 
CommentDiagnosis. The new species is placed in the genus Ophiodes by having plate-like scales on the top of the head, two pairs of scales between the rostral and the first unpaired plate, no external forelegs, and flap-like hind limbs. Ophiodes luciae is distinguished from other species of Ophiodes by a combination of 1) a uniform striped color pattern around the body, 2) an absence of black supralabial bars, 3) 171 dorsal scales between occipital and the vent, 4) 29 scales around midbody, and 5) a hind limb four scales long (Table 1). Ophiodes luciae with its coloration of faint homogeneous stripes can be distinguished from O. intermedius, with its distinct broad, dark, lateral stripes, and often narrow vertebral stripe (Fig. 4A); from O. vertebralis, with its distinct dorsolateral dark and light stripes, from O. fragilis with its broad dark and pale lateral lines (Fig. 4B); and from O. striatus with its well-defined light and dark body stripes (Fig. 4C). Like O. luciae, Ophiodes sp. “1” has a series of narrow dark lines on the body and tail, but the stripes are darker and much more obvious in the latter; Ophiodes sp. “2” has 3 well-marked dorsolateral dark lines, the second broader than the other two; and Ophiodes sp. “3” has a broad olive- brown middorsal stripe that occupies three scale rows, and 3 narrower dark and light dorsolateral stripes (Fig. 4D). Ophiodes luciae lacks the distinct black bars that are on the faces of all other Ophiodes except O. vertebralis. Ophiodes luciae is stouter than O. intermedius and O. vertebralis. The posterior limb flap of O. luciae (4 scales long) is shorter than that of O. intermedius (5–7), O. striatus (5–8), O. fragilis (6–10), O. sp. “2” (5–6) and O. sp. “3” (5–9) (Fig. 5). There are more scale rows around the midbody of O. luciae (29) than around the bodies of all the other Ophiodes species (23–28) except that of O. fragilis (23–29). Ophiodes luciae has more scales occiput to vent (171) than all other Ophiodes (130–164).

Habitat: Wet Chaco, in a savanna composed of palms (Copernicia alba), native bunch grasses, and bare ground, with small interspersed islands of semideciduous forest. The savanna floods periodically from the Paraguay River. 
EtymologyOphiodes luciae is named in honor of our colleague and good friend Aida Luz (Lucy) Aquino, who has worked for more than thirty years on the biology, distribution, and conservation of the Paraguayan herpetofauna. 
  • CACCIALI, PIER & NORMAN J. SCOTT 2015. Key to the Ophiodes (Squamata: Sauria: Diploglossidae) of Paraguay with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 3980 (1): 042–050
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