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Philochortus neumanni MATSCHIE, 1893

IUCN Red List - Philochortus neumanni - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Neumann's Orangetail Lizard 
SynonymPhilochortus neumanni MATSCHIE 1893: 30
Latastia neumanni — ANDERSON 1895: 643
Latastia neumanni — NEUMANN 1905
Philochortus neumanni — BOULENGER 1917: 150
Philochortus neumanni — BOULENGER 1921: 7
Philochortus neumanni — ANGEL 1936
Philochortus neumanni — BAUER & GÜNTHER 1995
Philochortus neumanni — SINDACO & JEREMČENKO 2008 
DistributionSW Saudi Arabia, Yemen

Type locality: “Scadi bei Lahadsch” [= Lahij?, Yemen]  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 11148 
DiagnosisDefinition (genus): Head-shields normal, save for the occasional absence of the interparietal. Nostril pierced between two shields and bordered by the first upper labial or narrowly separated from it. Lower eyelid scaly, often more or less transparent in the middle. Collar well marked. Back with two to six longitudinal series of large plate like scales; ventral plates feebly imbricate, with trun cate posterior border, smooth. Digits more or less compressed, with smooth or keeled lamellar scales inferiorly. Femoral pores. Tail long, cylindrical (Boulenger 1917: 145).

Diagnosis (genus): This genus differs from Lacerta and Latastia in the longitudinal series of enlarged plate-like scales on the back, an approximation to the condition in Poromera, Tachydromus, and Holaspis. In all the species the parietal foramen is absent, and a few small teeth are usually present on the pterygoids. The subdigital lamellae vary according to individuals; they are usually smooth or with two series of obtuse tubercles; sometimes, however, the tubercles form obtuse keels, and in a female of P. neumanni there is a rather sharp keel along the middle. Steindachner has already observed that of the two types of P. hardeggeri one has the subdigital lamellae distinctly keeled, whilst in the other the keels are scarcely indicated (Boulenger 1917: 145).

Description: Head and body feebly depressed. Head about If times as long as broad, its depth equal to the distance between the centre of the eye and the tympanum, its length 4 to 4.5 times in length to vent; snout obtusely pointed, as long as postocular part of head, with obtuse canthus. Pileus twice as. long as broad. Neck as broad as the head or a little narrower. Hind limb reaching the collar or between the collar and the ear; foot 1.4 to 1.5 times as long as head; toes slender, compressed. Tail 2.25 to nearly 3 times as long as head and body. Nostril separated from the upper labial and the postnasal by a narrow rim (exactly as in Lacerta perspicillata); nasals forming a suture behind the rostral, the suture 1/4 to 1/2 the length of the frontonasal, which is much broader than long and broader than the internarial space; prefrontals forming a short median suture; frontal as long as its distance from the end of the snout, 1.66 to 2 times as long as broad, angular in front, narrower behind, not grooved; parietals 1.5 to 1.66 times as long as broad; interparietal small, usually separated from the occipital by a small shield. 4 supraoculars, first small and usually in contact with the frontal, second and third large and subequal, fourth small and some times broken up into two or three; 6 or 7 superciliaries, separated from the supraoculars by a series of granules. Lower eyelid some what transparent, with feebly enlarged scales in the middle, some of which are deeper than the others. Eostral not entering the nostril; a single postnasal; anterior loreal shorter than the second; 5, rarely 4 (in the female from Mt. Manif), upper labials anterior to the subocular, which is a little narrower beneath than above. A long, narrow upper temporal, usually in contact with the fourth supraocular, followed by one or two small shields; temporal scales mostly hexagonal, very small above, larger beneath; a narrow, curved tympanic shield. 6 pairs of chin-shields, first three in contact in the middle; 29 to 34 gular scales in a straight line in the middle, granular in front, gradually or abruptly enlarged and imbricate towards the collar; no gular fold. Collar with strongly serrated edge, composed of 7 to 10 plates. Scales granular and smooth on the nape, rhombic, juxtaposed or subimbricate, and obtusely keeled on the body; 4 or 6 series of hexa gonal plates along the back, more or less strongly keeled; 38 to 42 plates and scales across the middle of the body (Anderson’s count, 47, is taken higher up the body). 12 or 14 large keeled scales in a transverse series between the hind limbs. Ventral plates in 6 longitudinal and 28 to 31 transverse series, the border of the transverse series feebly notched between the plates, the median pair of which is narrower than the others. Preanal plates small and irregular, or two large and median, or three large, forming a triangle. 14 to 16 femoral pores on each side. 33 to 35 lamellar scales under the fourth toe. Caudal scales in alternately somewhat longer and shorter whorls upper oblique, strongly and diagonally keeled, rounded or obtusely pointed behind, lower keeled; 26 to 30 scales in the fourth or fifth whorl behind the postanal granules. Brown to blackish above, with six yellowish white streaks, two along the back, diverging on the nape, and two on each side, the upper from behind the eye to the base of the tail, passing above the tympanum, the lower from the upper lip, through the tympanum and above the fore limb, to the base of the thigh; the dark band between the two light lateral streaks sometimes spotted with whitish; upper surface of head and limbs pale brown; lower parts white; tail pale brown above, yellowish beneath, orange-red distally in the young (Boulenger 1921: 7). 
CommentType species: Philochortus neumanni MATSCHIE 1893: 30 is the type species of the genus Philochortus MATSCHIE 1893. 
EtymologyNamed after Professor Oskar Rudolph Neumann (1867-1946), a German ornithologist who collected in East Africa (1892-1894). Later in his life he moved to Chicago to escape Nazi persecution and worked at the Field Museum.

The genus is named after the Greek “philos” = lover, and “chortos” = grass, meaning grass-loving. 
  • Anderson, J. 1895. On a collection of reptiles and batrachians made by Colonel Yerbury at Aden and its neighbourhood. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1895: 635—663 - get paper here
  • Angel, M.F. 1936. Description d'une nouvelle espèce du genre Philochortus provenant des confins Saharo-Soudanais, et tableau synoptique des espèces du genre. Bull. Soc. Zool. (Paris) 61: 100-105
  • Arnold E N 1986. A key and annotated checklist to the lizards and amphisbaenians of Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 8: 385-435
  • 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
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1917. On the lizards of the genus Philochortus MATSCHIE. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1917: 145-157 - get paper here
  • Matschie, P. 1893. Über einige von Herrn Oscar Neumann bei Aden gesammelte u. beobachtete Säugethiere, Reptilien und Amphibien. Sber. Ges. naturf. Freunde, Berlin (1893): 24-31. - get paper here
  • Neumann, Oscar Rudolph 1905. Über nordost-afrikanische und arabische Kriechtiere. Zool. Jahrb. Syst., 22: 389-404. - get paper here
  • Schätti, B. & Gasperetti, J. 1994. A contribution to the herpetofauna of Southwest Arabia. Fauna of Saudi Arabia 14: 348-423
  • Sindaco, R. & Jeremcenko, V.K. 2008. The reptiles of the Western Palearctic. Edizioni Belvedere, Latina (Italy), 579 pp. - get paper here
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