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Paracontias rothschildi MOCQUARD, 1905

IUCN Red List - Paracontias rothschildi - Critically Endangered, CR

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Rothschild's Skink 
SynonymParacontias rothschildi MOCQUARD 1905: 286
Paracontias rothschildi — ANGEL 1942: 145
Paracontias (Angelias) rothschildi — BRYGOO 1980
Paracontias rothschildi — GLAW & VENCES 1994: 320
Paracontias (Angelias) rothschildi — SCHMITZ et al. 2005 
DistributionMadagascar (Antsiranana Province)

Localities: (1) Baie de Sakalava, Forêt d’Orangea, 12°16′24″ S, 49°23′33″ E; and (2) south-east of Ivovona, Forêt d’Orangea, 12°19′58″ S, 49°24′20″ E. [KÖHLER et al. 2010]  
Reproductionoviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesLectotype MNHN-RA 1905.0269 (originally 6 specimens but only one remained in MNHN collections and others were destroyed). Designation by Brygoo (1981) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A member of Paracontias according to the molecular phylogeny based on nuclear and mitochondrial genes by Crottini et al. (2009). Paracontias rothschildi differs from most sympatric limbless members of the genus by the number of scale rows around mid-body being 16 (for the higher numbers in relevant other species, see the diagnosis of P. minimus above); only P. fasika n. sp. also exhibits 16 scale rows. From the syntopic P. minimus, P. rothschildi further differs mainly by colouration, presence of an eye opening and presence of a nasal scal e. Paracontias rothschildi shares with P. brocchii and P. milloti a nostril located at the border between rostral and first supralabial; in the other Paracontias species the nostril originates in the rostral scale and is connected with the first supralabial by a narrow suture only. For separation from P. fasika n. sp., see the diagnosis for the latter species below. From all known limbless species of Pseudoacontias (P. madagascariensis, P. unicolor, P. menamainty), Paracontias rothschildi mainly differs by smaller size, absence of a supranasal scale, and a lower number of scale rows around mid-body (16 versus 32, 30, 25, respectively). From limbless species of Voeltzkowia (V. lineata, V. mira, V. rubrocaudata), P. rothschildi is distinguished mainly by the lower number of scale rows around mid-body (16 versus 18–20), a more rounded snout in lateral view (vs. pointed), and presence of an eye opening (absent in Voeltzkowia). In contrast to Amphiglossus stylus, the only known limbless species in this genus, P. rothschildi has no indication of the former limb positions (minute clawless nubs present in A. stylus) and a lower number of scale rows around mid-body (16 versus 20). [from KÖHLER et al. 2010]. 
CommentLimb morphology: Limbless; no ear openings visible.

Habitat: sandy soil in shrub forest.

Abundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after Baron Maurice de Rothschild (1881-1957), a member of the French branch of the famous banking family. In his youth he was a well-known playboy and quarreled with his relations over an investment they regarded as risky but that turned out to be highly profitable, as did many of his subsequent ventures. 
  • Andreone, F. & Greer, A.E. 2002. Malagasy scincid lizards: descriptions of nine new species, with notes on the morphology, reproduction and taxonomy of some previously described species (Reptilia, Squamata: Scincidae). Journal of Zoology 258, 139-181 - get paper here
  • Angel, F. 1942. Les Lézards de Madagascar. Mem. Acad. Malagache, Tananarive XXXVI: 193 pp.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Brygoo,E.R. 1980. Systématique des lézards scincides de la région malgache. III. les ‘Acontias’ de Madagascar. Pseudacontias BARBOZA DU BOCAGE, 1899, Paracontias, MOCQUARD 1894, Pseudacontias, HEWITT 1929, et Malacontias, GREER 1970. IV. Amphiglossus reticulatus (KAUD Bull. Mus. natl. Hist. nat. Paris, 4th ser., Sect. A., 2 (3): 905-918
  • Crottini, Angelica; Janina Dordel, Jörn Köhler, Frank Glaw, Andreas Schmitz, Miguel Vences 2009. A multilocus phylogeny of Malagasy scincid lizards elucidates the relationships of the fossorial genera Androngo and Cryptoscincus. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 53 (1): 345-350 - get paper here
  • Glaw ,F. & Vences, M. 1994. A Fieldguide to the Amphibians and Reptiles of Madagascar. Vences & Glaw Verlag, Köln (ISBN 3-929449-01-3)
  • Köhler, J.; Vences, M.; Erbacher, M. & Glaw, F. 2010. Systematics of limbless scincid lizards from northern Madagascar: morphology, phylogenetic relationships and implications for classification (Squamata: Scincidae). Org Divers Evol 10:147–159 - get paper here
  • Köhler, J.; Vieites, D.R.; Glaw, F.; Kaffenberger, N. & Vences, M. 2009. A further new species of limbless skink, genus Paracontias, from eastern Madagascar. African Journal of Herpetology 58 (2): 98-105 - 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
  • Mocquard, M.F. 1905. Note préliminaire sur une collection de reptiles et de Batraciens offerte au Muséum par M. Maurice de Rothschild. Bull. Mus. nation. Hist. nat., Paris 11: 285-288 - get paper here
  • Schmitz, A.; M.C. Brandley; P. Mausfeld; M. Vences; F. Glaw; R.A. Nussbaum and T.W. Reeder 2005. Opening the black box: phylogenetics and morphological evolution of the Malagasy fossorial lizards of the subfamily “Scincinae”. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 118–133 (published online 2004) - get paper here
  • Wegener, J.E., Swoboda, S., Hawlitschek, O., Franzen, M., Wallach, V., Vences, M., Nagy, T., Hedges, S.B., Köhler, J. & Glaw, F. 2013. Morphological variation and taxonomic reassessment of the endemic Malagasy blind snake family Xenotyphlopidae (Serpentes, Scolecophidia). Spixiana, 36: 269–282 - get paper here
  • Ziegler, Thomas; Joel Kamphausen, Frank Glaw, Angelica Crot- tini,, Gerardo Garcia, Dennis Rödder, Anna Rauhaus, Lilli Sten- ger & Anna Wahle 2022. Threatened Malagasy amphibians and reptiles in zoos – a call for enhanced implementation of the IUCN’s One Plan Approach Zool. Garten N.F. 90: 21-69 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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