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Ophioscincus cooloolensis GREER & COGGER, 1985

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cooloola Snake-skink 
SynonymOphioscincus coolooensis GREER & COGGER 1985: 35
Ophioscincus cooloolensis — COGGER 2000: 555
Ophioscincus cooloolensis — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: “National Parks Headquarters on ‘A’ road, Fraser Island, Queensland”  
TypesHolotype: QM J 31573 Paratypes: AMS (AM) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Differs from all other Ophioscincus in the following two characters states, both of which are unique: prefrontals absent and presacral vertebrae ≤ 44 (GREER & COGGER 1985: 35).

Description. Snout bluntly rounded; rostral trilobed with broad, rounded medial lobe projecting between nasals to contact frontonasal broadly, and 2 relatively narrow labial lobes, each projecting posteriorly below nasal; frontonasal wider than long (1.6-1.9 x), wider than frontal; prefrontal absent; frontal wider than long (1.2-1.4 x) and considerably shorter than midline length of frontoparietals and interparietal; supraoculars 3 or 2, only first in contact with frontal; frontoparietals distinct, in contact; interparietal distinct, larger than each frontoparietal; parietal eye spot located just posterior of centre in frontoparietal; parietals meet behind interparietal, each bordered posterolaterally by first transversely enlarged nuchal and upper secondary temporal; transversely enlarged nuchals 2-5.
Nasals moderately large, separated medially, with nostril well forward and slightly ventral of centre; loreal one; preoculars 2, lower much larger and in contact with first supralabial; subocular row narrowed or interrupted below centre of eye, presuboculars 1-2, postsuboculars 2; postoculars 2, lower much the larger; supraciliaries 3, anterior 2 separated from posterior one by second and third supraoculars; lower eyelid moveable, scaly; pretemporals 2, lower larger; primary temporal single; secondary temporals 2, upper much larger than lower, and lower only slightly smaller than primary; external ear opening absent, its former position indicated by a slightly forward-dipping vertical crease; supralabials 5, third situated below centre of eye and bordering scales of lower eyelid; postsupralabial single; infralabials 4; mental wider than long (1.6-1.7 x); postmental much wider than long (2.3-2.7 x) usually in contact with first two infralabials (92070), occasionally only first (8%); 3 pairs of enlarged chin scales, first pair in medial contact or just separated, second pair separated by single scale row and third pair by 3 rows.
Scales smooth, in 18-19 longitudinal rows at midbody; paravertebral scales 77-83, only slightly larger than those in more lateral rows; inner preanals overlap outer, medial pair appreciably larger than surrounding scales; median row of subcaudals slightly larger than more lateral rows.
Snout-vent length 54-69 mm; limbs absent, tail 0.77-0.93 x SVL, tip rounded (GREER & COGGER 1985: 35).

Colour. In preservative, dorsum light-tan to light- brown with scattered dark-brown mottling on head and dark-brown spots (one per scale) running longitudinally
on body and tail; sides with well defined, dark-brown stripe which forms a dense mottling on head and neck but a solid band over body and tail; ventral light-tan to off-white except for some dark mottling on chin and throat (which is continuous with mottling of anterior part of lateral stripe), and some solid dark colour on posterior part of tail (which is continuous with colour of posterior part of lateral stripe).
In life, one specimen (AM R 89276) was noted to have had the venter of the body (from about the pectoral area back) and tail papaya orange in colour (Greer, pers. obs.) (GREER & COGGER 1985: 35). 
CommentLimb morphology: 0 digits 0 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014) 
EtymologyNamed after the Cooloola National Park where this species is found. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Greer A E; Cogger H G 1985. Systematics of the reduce-limbed and limbless skinks currently assigned to the genus Anomalopus (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 37(1) 1985: 11-54 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M; Sadlier, Ross A 1999. A catalogue of the non-fossil amphibian and reptile type specimens in the collection of the Australian Museum: types currently, previously and purportedly present. TECHNICAL REPORTS OF THE AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM 15, 1999: 1-91 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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