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Paracontias mahamavo MIRALLES, JONO, MORI, GANDOLA, ERENS, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES, 2016

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymParacontias mahamavo MIRALLES, JONO, MORI, GANDOLA, ERENS, KÖHLER, GLAW & VENCES 2016 
DistributionMadagascar (Mahajanga)

Type locality: Matsedroy, Mahajanga Province, Madagascar, 15°290 13.7′′S, 46°38048.9′′E, 27 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 2905/2011, adult, collected on 30 June 2011, by J. Coates.
Paratypes. ZSM 2904/2011, adult, same data as holotype. ZSM 166/2013 (fieldnumber 1RMG14), adult, from Matse- droy, Mahajanga Province, Madagascar, 15°290 13.9′′ S, 46°38048.8′′E, 27 m above sea level, collected on 20 July 2013 by M. Rabenoro. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Small brownish apodous scincine species of Paracontias, as revealed by DNA sequence analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes, and by the absence of legs, supranasals and postnasals, the main morphological synapomorphies that in combination differentiate the genus from other Malagasy scincines.
As a member of the ‘kankana clade’ (together with P. kankana and P. ampijoroensis sp. nov.), Paracontias mahamavo sp. nov. differs from the other clade of Paracontias by the presence of large loreals (likely resulting from the fusion of loreals with supranasals) extending and meeting each other at dorsal midline (vs. small loreal separated from each other by the rostral and the frontonasal in P. fasika, P. hafa, P. hildebrandti, P. holomelas, P. manify, P. minimus, P. rothschildi, P. tsararano, P. vermisaurus, or loreals absent (likely fused with the frontonasal in P. milloti).
More specifically, within the ‘kankana clade’, P. mahamavo sp. nov. can also be differentiated from the other species by the number of enlarged nuchals (one pair vs. two pairs in P. ampijoroensis sp. nov., and the absence in P. kankana), the shape of the frontonasal (triangular vs. pentagonal in P. ampijoroensis sp. nov. and P. kankana) and the number of scale rows around midbody (18 vs. 21 in kankana and 16 in ampijoroensis), see Table 1 and Fig. S4 in Miralles et al. 2016.
 
CommentHabitat: dry deciduous forest

Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe new species is named after the Mahamavo watershed in which the species was found and, most likely is restricted to. Mahamavo also means ‘to make yellow’ in the Malagasy language, in reference to the dusty nature of the area. The epithet is used as a noun in apposition. 
References
  • 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
  • Miralles A., Jono T., Mori A., Gandola R., Erens J., Köhler J., Glaw F., Vences M. 2016. A new perspective on the reduction of cephalic scales in fossorial legless skinks (Squamata, Scincidae) Zoologica Scripta doi:10.1111/zsc.12164 - get paper here
 
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