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Pantepuisaurus rodriguesi KOK, 2009

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae s.l., Ecpleopodinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards) 
Common Names 
SynonymPantepuisaurus rodriguesi KOK 2009 
DistributionW Guyana

Type locality: summit plateau of Mount Maringma, Cuyuni-Mazaruni District, Guyana (05° 12’ 57”N, 060° 35’ 07”W, 2080 m elevation).  
TypesHolotype: IRSNB 2650 (field number PK 2044), an adult male collected by Paul Benjamin, Philippe J. R. Kok and Claudius Perry, 28 November 2007 at 14h55. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. An elongate gymnophthalmid (known SVL in male 58.3 mm) with a long tail (1.6x SVL) and the unique following combination of characters: (1) distinctive ear opening and moveable eyelids, (2) limbs pentadactyl with all digits clawed, (3) nasal scales separated by a single frontonasal, (4) prefrontals present, (5) frontoparietals, parietals and interparietal present, (6) parietals and interparietal longer than wide, (7) interparietal and parietals forming a jagged, irregular posterior margin, (8) occipitals present, (9) three pairs of genials, second pair in contact with only one infralabial, (10) enlarged median pairs of gulars, (11) dorsal scales hexagonal, keeled, in transverse rows only, (12) ventral scales imbricate, hexagonal, mucronate, broadly keeled, in transverse rows only, (13) tongue anterodorsally covered by oblique, anteriorly converging plicae, posterodorsally covered by large scalelike papillae (14) hemipenis weakly bilobed with series of curved transverse plicae bearing mineralized spicules. Pantepuisaurus differs from members of Alopoglossinae in having the tongue anterodorsally covered by oblique plicae and posterodorsally covered by large scalelike papillae (entirely covered by oblique plicae in Alopoglossinae), the interparietal and the parietals forming a jagged, irregular line (straight posterior margin), and in having ventral scales in transverse rows only (in transverse and longitudinal rows in Alopoglossinae); from members of Gymnophthalminae in having hands pentadactyl with the first finger clawed (first finger absent, reduced and/or clawless in Gymnophthalminae); from Rhachisaurinae in having external ear openings (absent in Rhachisaurinae). Within Cercosaurinae (sensu Pellegrino et al. 2001 and Rodrigues et al. 2005), Pantepuisaurus differs from all genera except Ecpleopus and Leposoma of the scincoides group in having hexagonal, mucronate ventral scales arranged in transverse rows only. Pantepuisaurus is readily distinguished from Ecpleopus (characters of Ecpleopus in parentheses) notably by the presence of a broad keel on ventrals (absent), quadrangular gular scales (mucronate), complete superciliary series (incomplete), and the presence of femoral pores in males (absent). Pantepuisaurus is quickly separated from Leposoma of the scincoides group (characters of Leposoma in parentheses) in having quadrangular gular scales (mucronate), by the absence of distinct striations on head scales (present), the interparietal and the parietals forming a jagged, irregular line (round posterior margin), and the presence of occipitals (absent). Two additional gymnophthalmid genera, Adercosaurus and Kaieteurosaurus, have not been assigned to any subfamily yet, but might be related each other and with Pantepuisaurus. Pantepuisaurus is immediately distinguished from Adercosaurus (characters of Adercosaurus in parentheses) in having imbricate, hexagonal, mucronate, broadly keeled ventral scales in transverse rows only (smooth, in transverse and longitudinal rows), in having a highly reduced fourth infralabial (not reduced) and the second pair of genials partly separated from the infralabials and in contact with one infralabial only (not separated from the infralabials, in contact with two infralabials), in lacking oblique plicae at the rear of the tongue, which is posteriorly covered by large scalelike papillae (rear of tongue covered by oblique plicae), and in having mineralized spicules on hemipenes’ plicae (absent). Pantepuisaurus is most similar to Kaieteurosaurus in having hexagonal, mucronate ventral scales arranged in transverse rows only, but it is readily distinguished from it (characters of Kaieteurosaurus in parentheses) by the presence of prefrontal scales (absent), three pairs of genials (two), in having a highly reduced fourth infralabial (not reduced) and the second pair of genials partly separated from the infralabials and in contact with one infralabial only (not separated from the infralabials, in contact with two infralabials), the common suture of the interparietal and parietals forming a jagged, irregular line (more or less straight posterior margin), an entire nasal (divided), and the aspect of the ventral scales that are much less lanceolate and mucronate than in Kaieteurosaurus. It should be emphasized here that Kaieteurosaurus also has broad “keels” on ventral scales (i.e. the central part of the scale is broadly elevated), a character that was only noticed while closely comparing the two genera. This character is not conspicuous in all Kaieteurosaurus specimens and is mostly noticeable on anteriormost and posteriormost ventral scales. In Kaieteurosaurus the significant lateral extension of the flat “keel” gives a lanceolate, smooth, “unkeeled” aspect to the ventral scales as described by Kok (2005), while the keel is more prominent and conspicuous in Pantepuisaurus. Figure 4 schematically illustrates the difference in the aspect of the broad keel on ventral scales between Pantepuisaurus and Kaieteurosaurus. A summary of main diagnostic characters for Pantepuisaurus, Adercosaurus and Kaieteurosaurus is in Table 1 in KOK 2009.

Diagnosis (species): In addition to the generic characteristics, the new species is also characterized by the following features: four supraoculars; 15 smooth temporal scales; scales around midbody 32; dorsal scales sharply keeled, in 33 transverse rows; ventral scales in 20 transverse rows; trunk length 2.6x length of forelimb; dorsum and flanks completely black, iris red. 
CommentType Species: Pantepuisaurus rodriguesi KOK 2009 is the type species of the genus Pantepuisaurus KOK 2009.

Subfamily: the subfamilial classification of this genus is still unresolved (T. Doan, pers. comm., 2 Jun 2014).

For diagnostic morphological characters distinguishing Marinussaurus, Amapasaurus, Anotosaura, Arthrosaura, Colobosauroides, Dryadosaura,Ecpleopus, Kaieteurosaurus, Leposoma, and Pantepuisaurus see Table 2 in PELOSO et al. 2011.

Abundance: only known from the type specimen (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): A noun in apposition, derived from “Pantepui” referring to the phytogeographic province where the type species was discovered, and the Greek sauros meaning “lizard”.

Etymology (species): The specific epithet is a noun in the genitive case, honoring Brazilian herpetologist Miguel Trefaut Rodrigues (Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil) for his huge contribution to the knowledge of the family Gymnophthalmidae using both morphological and molecular approaches. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Cole, Charles J.; Carol R. Townsend, Robert P. Reynolds, Ross D. MacCulloch, and Amy Lathrop 2013. Amphibians and reptiles of Guyana, South America: illustrated keys, annotated species accounts, and a biogeographic synopsis. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 125 (4): 317-578; plates: 580-620 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Peloso, Pedro L.V.; Katia C. M. Pellegrino, Miguel T. Rodrigues, and Teresa C.S. Ávila-Pires 2011. Description and Phylogenetic Relationships of a New Genus and Species of Lizard (Squamata, Gymnophthalmidae) from the Amazonian Rainforest of Northern Brazil. American Museum Novitates (3713): 1-24 - get paper here
  • Philippe J. R. Kok. 2009. Lizard in the clouds: a new highland genus and species of Gymnophthalmidae (Reptilia: Squamata) from Maringma tepui, western Guyana. Zootaxa 1992: 53-67 - get paper here
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