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Panaspis mocamedensis CERÍACO, HEINICKE, PARKER, MARQUES & BAUER, 2020

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Moçamedes Snake-Eyed Skink
Portuguese: Lagartixa da Manta-Morta de Moçâmedes 
SynonymPanaspis mocamedensis CERÍACO, HEINICKE, PARKER, MARQUES & BAUER 2020 
DistributionAngola (Namibe)

Type locality: river bed, 45 km SW of Virei (-16.11958°, 12.83458°, 523 m elevation), Namibe Province, Republic of Angola  
TypesHolotype. FLMNH 187243 (field number AMB 10652), unsexed adult, collected by Luis M. P. Ceríaco, Ishan Agarwal, Suzana Bandeira and Pedro Baptista on 3 December 2016 (Fig. 17–18).Paratypes. Four specimens, all from the Republic of Angola: CAS 263325, 263326, 263327 (field numbers AMB 10649, 10650, 10651 respectively) all unsexed adults, with the same collecting data as the holotype; CAS 264266 (field number AMB 11401) from Maungo farm (-14.538018°, 12.744793°, 365 m), Namibe Province, Republic of Angola, collected by L.M.P. Ceríaco, Mariana P. Marques, Joyce Janota and Alvaro (varito) Baptista on 9 August 2018; 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Panaspis mocamedensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from other members of the genus by the following combination of characteristics: 1) absence of supranasals; 2) ablepharine eye (as defined by Greer 1974); 3) frontoparietals fused; 4) dorsum coppery-brown, with a dorsolateral light stripe extending approximately to midbody, accompanied by a thinner stripe composed by black dots band starting on the temporals and extending to the base of the tail; 5) presence of rows of light spots on the neck; 6) absence of a white ventrolateral stripe; 7) 23 to 24 midbody scales rows.

Comparison with other south and southwestern African Panaspis. As the molecular data provide evidence of the independence of the P. mocamedensis sp. nov. lineage from all other taxa, we here restrict our morphological comparisons to those named congeners occurring in Namibia and Angola. The extreme morphological conservatism of Panaspis limits diagnostic characters for most species (except P. cabindae and P. aff. breviceps) to subtle features, chiefly related to coloration pattern. Comparing P. mocamedensis sp. nov. with P. cabindae and P. aff. breviceps, the newly described species can be easily distinguished by not having supranasals (present in P. cabindae), by having an ablepharine eye (pre-ablepharine eye in P. cabindae and completely movable lower eyelids in P. aff. breviceps), and by having the frontoparietals fused (divided in P. cabindae and in P. aff. breviceps). In comparison with P. wahlbergi, P. mocamedensis sp. nov. can be distinguished by its coloration, namely by the lack of the broad black lateral stripe and bordering ventrolateral white stripe extending from the supralabials through the ear to the groin (males) or terminating behind the shoulder (females). Panaspis mocamedensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from P. maculicollis on the basis of the lack of black patch extending from ear to just beyond the shoulder and by having a smaller count of midbody scale rows (23 to 24 in P. mocamedensis sp. nov. versus typically 26 in P. maculicollis). P. mocamedensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from the newly described P. namibiana on the basis of the presence two or three vertical or diagonal rows of white spots on the neck and by having a smaller count of midbody scale rows (23 to 24 in P. mocamedensis sp. nov. versus usually more than 24 in P. namibiana). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “mocamedensis” refers to the former name of Namibe Province (Moçâmedes), to which the species is apparently endemic. 
  • CERÍACO, LUIS M. P.; MATTHEW P. HEINICKE, KELLY L. PARKER, MARIANA P. MARQUES, AARON M. BAUER 2020. A review of the African snake-eyed skinks (Scincidae: Panaspis) from Angola, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 4747 (1): 77–112 - get paper here
  • Lobón-Rovira J, Vaz Pinto P, S. Becker F, Tolley KA, Measey J, Bennet B, Boon B, de Sá S, Conradie W 2022. An updated herpetofaunal species inventory of Iona National Park in southwestern Angola. Check List 18(2): 289-321 - get paper here
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