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Paracontias vermisaurus MIRALLES, KÖHLER, VIEITES, GLAW & VENCES, 2011

IUCN Red List - Paracontias vermisaurus - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymParacontias vermisaurus MIRALLES, KÖHLER, VIEITES, GLAW & VENCES 2011 
DistributionNE Madagascar

Type locality: north-eastern Madagascar, Makira Reserve, site locally named Angozongahy, 15°26′13.3′′ S, 49°07′07.0′′ E, 1,009 m elevation.  
Reproductionoviparous (phylogenetic imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: ZSM 597/2008; field number ZCMV 11211, apparently an adult specimen; collected 20–22 June 2009 by C. Patton, J. Patton, E. Rajeriarison, T. Rajoafiarison, R. D. Randrianiaina, F. Ratsoavina,, M. Vences and D. R. Vieites. Paratype (ZSM 598/2008; field number DRV 5935), adult; data as for holotype, except site locally named Ampofoko, 15°25′22.3′′ S, 49°07′15.1′′ E, 1,034 m a.s.l., 28 June 2009. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis Small brownish apodous scincine species in Paracontias Mocquard, as revealed by sequence analyses of mitochondrial and nuclear genes as well as by the absence of legs, supranasals and postnasals, the main morphological synapomorphies that in combination differentiate the genus from other Malagasy scincines, including from limbless species assigned to Amphiglossus.
Paracontias vermisaurus sp. n. differs from congeneric species by the following combination of character states: presence of loreals separated from each other by the rostral to the frontonasal (versus very large loreals extending and meeting each other at dorsal midline in P. kankana, loreals absent in P. milloti); two supralabials between the rostral and the subocular supralabial (three in Amphiglossus stylus; one in P. hildebrandti), hourglass-shaped frontal (bell- shaped in P. brocchii, P. kankana, P. manify, P. minimus, P. rothschildi, P. tsararano); 20 scale rows around midbody (16 in P. rothschildi and P. fasika; 18 in P. milloti and P. minimus; 21 in P. kankana and P. tsararano; 22 in P. manify; 26 in P. brocchii; 31 in P. holomelas); nostril in contact with first supralabial (nostril deeply within rostral and posteriorly connected by distinct narrow join with first supralabial in P. hafa, P. hildebrandti, P. holomelas, P. minimus, P. manify and P. tsararano); three supraoculars largely in contact with the frontal (two in P. brocchii, P. milloti, P. kankana, P. tsararano, P. rothschildi; one in P. minimus), eye opening not covered by scales (eye sunken below ocular scale in P. minimus); a uniform dark coloration (bicolored pattern with lighter wide medio- dorsal stripe in P. fasika and P. rothschildi). Additionally, P. vermisaurus differs from the morphologically similar P. hafa in having a relatively larger eye with a prominent supraocular region (versus a flat, laterally depressed supra- ocular region), and by brownish live coloration with a faint violet tint (versus pale with pinkish tint) [from MIRALLES et al. 2011]. 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Latin vermis (worm) to the Greek sauros (lizard); it is to be treated as a noun in apposition for the purposes of nomenclature. 
  • Belluardo, F., Muñoz-Pajares, A. J., Miralles, A., Silvestro, D., Cocca, W., Ratsoavina, F. M., ... & Crottini, A. 2022. Slow and steady wins the race: Diversification rate is independent from body size and lifestyle in Malagasy skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Scincinae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 107635 - get paper here
  • Kwet, Axel 2012. Liste der im Jahr 2011 neu beschriebenen Reptilien. Terraria-Elaphe 2012 (3): 46-57 - 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
  • Miralles, Aurélien; Köhler, Jörn; Vieites, David R. 2011. Hypotheses on rostral shield evolution in fossorial lizards derived from the phylogenetic position of a new species of Paracontias (Squamata, Scincidae). Organisms Diversity & Evolution 11: 135-15 - 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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