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Pedioplanis benguelensis (BOCAGE, 1867)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bocage's Sand Lizard 
SynonymEremias benguellensis BOCAGE 1867: 221 (nomen nudum)
Eremias benguelensis BOCAGE 1867: 229
Eremias benguellensis — BOULENGER 1918
Pedioplanis benguellensis — ARNOLD 1989
Mesalina benguellensis — SZCZERBAK 1989
Pedioplanis benguellensis — BAUER & GÜNTHER 1995
Pedioplanis benguelensis — MAKOKHA et al. 2007
Pedioplanis benguellensis — CONRADIE et al. 2012
Pedioplanis beguellensis — SCHLEICHER 2020 (in error)
Pedioplanis beguelensis — PARRINHA et al. 2021: 18 
DistributionSW Angola, N Namibia (presumably only marginal regions of the northernmost Namib desert)

Type locality: “Maconjo, Angola”; “‘Benguella” (= Benguela, Angola) fide CONRADIE et al. 2012.

Neotype locality: Chimalavera Nature Reserve, vicinity of Main Camp [-12.83377°, 13.16991°, 293 m], Benguela Province. This is in the vicinity of the original type locality < 35 km distant).  
TypesNeotype. CAS 266242, adult male, designated by Parrinha et al. 2021. Syntype: ZMB 7762 (probably lost fide BAUER & GÜNTHER 1995) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Pedioplanis benguelensis is a boldly striped and medium-sized Sand Lizard, with an average SVL of 48 mm (max 58 mm) and a tail roughly two and a half times the SVL (Fig. 2). It can be distinguished from other spe- cies of the genus in Angola and Namibia by the following combination of characters: (1) lower eyelid with two en- larged transparent scales (rarely one—PEM R24110, or three—CAS 266239), with two to four smaller ones below; (2) five (rarely four or six) supralabials anterior to the subocular and usually three posteriorly; (3) two (sometimes one or three) rows of small granules between the supraoculars and supraciliaries; (4) a group of 9–26 (>13 in 75% of specimens) small granules preceding the supraoculars; (5) ventral scales in ten longitudinal rows; (6) presence of three bold black stripes extending from the back of the head to the base of the tail. The background coloration of the dorsum is brownish, with black stripes intercalated with thinner yellowish lines. The vertebral stripe splits at the neck, and in rare cases may be entirely divided into two thinner lines. Dorsolateral stripes are bold and well- defined. On the flanks there is a dark lateral stripe that starts behind the eye and extends to the hindlimb insertion, usually faint and reticulated, and often with a series of yellow spots along its lower edge. There may also be a thin and irregular line or series of streaks of reddish to black coloration, starting behind the labials and extending to the hindlimb insertion. The hindlimbs and the tail are greyish to reddish brown, with the legs often covered above by more or less distinct pale circles surrounded by dark pigmentation. The underparts are white, sometimes reddish at the base of the tail and hindlimbs.

Comparison with other Pedioplanis species. Pedioplanis benguelensis is readily distinguished from P. burchelli, P. laticeps, P. breviceps (Sternfeld, 1911), P. namaquensis and P. husabensis by the presence of two en- larged transparent scales on the lower eyelid (versus eight or more opaque to semi-transparent scales in the remain- ing species); from P. lineoocellata (Duméril & Bibron, 1839) by the presence of an enlarged tympanic shield (versus no enlarged tympanic shield in P. lineoocellata); from P. inornata, P. rubens, P. gaerdesi and P. branchi by the pres- ence of distinct dorsal stripes (versus no stripes in P. inornata, P. rubens, P. gaerdesi and P. branchi); and from P. undata by a higher number of granules anterior to the supraoculars (usually >13 in P. benguelensis versus <14 in P. undata). Pedioplanis benguelensis is identical in most morphological characters to P. mayeri, from which it can be distinguished based on a greater maximum number of granules anterior to the supraocular (9–26 in P. benguelensis versus 9–16 in P. mayeri) and geographic location (P. benguelensis restricted to Angola versus P. mayeri restricted to Namibia). Regarding Angolan congeners, P. benguelensis is distinguished from P. haackei by dorsal color pattern (dark stripes distinct all the way to the tail in P. benguelensis versus mostly fading posteriorly in P. haackei); and from P. huntleyi by a higher number of granules anterior to the supraoculars (usually >13 in P. benguelensis versus <12 in P. huntleyi), usually two rows of granules between supraoculars and supraciliaries (versus usually one in P. huntleyi) and dorsal color pattern (dark stripes distinct all the way to the tail in P. benguelensis versus faded pos- teriorly in P. huntleyi). It is distinguished from an undescribed species by the presence of two enlarged transparent scales on the lower eyelid (versus one, see description below). 
CommentSynonymy: Pedioplanis benguelensis has been previously synonymized with P. namaquensis, first by BOCAGE 1895 himself, later by LAURENT 1964 and others butis now considered a valid species. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality.

Bocage mentioned this species first as Eremias benguellensis, without description, referring to another paper that was published back to back, in which he spelled it benguelensis, this time with a description. Hence the initial spelling should be considered a nomen nudum. 
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Günther, Rainer 1995. An annotated type catalogue of the lacertids (Reptilia: Lacertidae) in the Zoological Museum, Berlin. Mitt. Zool. Mus. Berlin 71 (1): 37-62 - get paper here
  • Bocage,J.V. du B. 1867. Segunda lista dos reptis das possessões portuguezas d’Africa occidental que existem no Museu de Lisboa. Jornal de Sci. math. phys. e nat. Lisboa (3): 217-228 - get paper here
  • Bocage,J.V. du B. 1867. Diagnoses de quelques reptiles nouveaux de l’Afrique occidentale. Jornal de Sci. math. phys. e nat. Lisboa (3): 229-232
  • Herrmann, H.-W.; W.R. Branch 2013. Fifty years of herpetological research in the Namib Desert and Namibia with an updated and annotated species checklist. Journal of Arid Environments 93: 94–115 - get paper here
  • Makokha, Jane S.; Bauer, Aaron M.; Mayer, Werner; Matthee, Conrad A. 2007. Nuclear and mtDNA-based phylogeny of southern African sand lizards, Pedioplanis (Sauria: Lacertidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 44(2):622-633 - get paper here
  • Marques, Mariana P.; Luis M. P. Ceríaco , David C. Blackburn , and Aaron M. Bauer 2018. Diversity and Distribution of the Amphibians and Terrestrial Reptiles of Angola -- Atlas of Historical and Bibliographic Records (1840–2017). Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (Ser. 4) 65: 1-501 (Supplement II)
  • Mayer, W. 1989. Comments on SZCZERBAK's (1975) catalogue of the African Sand Lizards (Reptilia: Sauria: Eremiainae). Herpetozoa 1 (3/4): 133-137 - get paper here
  • PARRINHA, D.; Marques, M. P., Heinicke, M. P., Khalid, F., Parker, K. L., TOLLEY, K. A., CHILDERS, J.L.; CONRADIE, W.; BAUER, A.M. & CERÍACO, L. M. 2021. A revision of Angolan species in the genus Pedioplanis Fitzinger (Squamata: Lacertidae), with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 5032 (1): 1-46 - get paper here
  • Szczerbak, Nikolai N. 1989. Catalogue of the African Sand lizards (Reptilia: Sauria: Eremiainae: Lampreremias, Pseuderemias, Taenieremias, Mesalina, Meroles). Herpetozoa 1 (3/4): 119-132. - get paper here
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