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Philochortus phillipsi (BOULENGER, 1898)

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Philipps’ Shield-backed Lizard 
SynonymLatastia Phillipsii BOULENGER 1898: 131
Philochortus phillipsii — BOULENGER 1917: 148
Philochortus hardeggeri taylori PARKER 1932: 354
Philochortus philippsi [sic] — ANGEL 1936
Philochortus phillipsi — PARKER 1942: 76
Philochortus phillipsi — LANZA 1983
Philochortus phillipsi — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 360 
DistributionN Somalia and adjacent regions of Ethiopia

Type locality: “Berbera” [Somalia]  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.9.3.42-43 (formerly
Syntypes: BMNH [taylori] 
DiagnosisDescription: Head and body rather depressed. Head about 1.5 times as long as broad, its depth equal to the distance bet-ween the centre of the eye and the tympanum, its length a little more than 4 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 a little narrovrer than the head. Hind limb reaching the ear-opening; foot 1.5 to 1.6 times as long as head; toes slender, compressed. Tail 2.5 to 2.75 times as long as head and body. Nostril pierced between 3 shields; nasals forming a suture behind the rostral, the suture 1/3 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, nearly twice as long as broad, angular in front, much narrower behind, feebly grooved; parietals 1.33 times as long as broad, meeting on the median line between the narrow or very small interparietal and the small, triangular occipital. 4 supraoculars, first small, divided into two and in contact with the frontal, second and third large and subequal, fourth small and some times divided into two; 5 or 6 superciliaries, separated from the supraoculars by a series of granules. Lower eyelid transparent in the middle, with feebly enlarged scales, some of which are deeper than the others. Rostral not entering the nostril; a single postnasal; anterior loreal shorter than second; 4 upper labials anterior to the subocular, which is a little narrower beneath than above. A long, narrow upper temporal, in contact with the fourth supraocular, followed by two small shields; upper temporal scales small and granular, lower large; a distinct tympanic shield. 4 pairs of chin-shields, first three in contact in the middle; 21 gular scales in a straight median line, granular in front, gradually enlarged and imbricate towards the collar, which is formed of 9 plates. Scales flat, granular on the nape, subimbricate and smooth or faintly keeled on the body, with the two series on the spine much enlarged and plate-like, hexagonal and twice as broad as long; 28 or 30 plates and scales across the middle of the body. Ventral plates in 6 longi tudinal and 26 transverse series, the border of the transverse series notched between the plates, the median pair of which is narrower than the others. Two enlarged preanal plates, one in front of the other, with smaller plates anteriorly and laterally. 13 femoral pores on each side. 27 to 30 lamellar scales under the fourth toe. Caudal scales forming alternately somewhat longer and shorter whorls, upper oblique, rather strongly keeled, obtusely pointed behind; 20 scales in the fourth or fifth whoi-1. Toung dark brown above, with 5 yellowish longitudinal streaks, the median bifurcating on the nape, each branch extending to the middle of the posterior border of the parietal shield; the lateral streaks occupying the same position as in P. spinalig. Adult grey above, with 3 lemon-yellow longitudinal streaks, the median forked on the nape and with crowded black dots forming a band from the temple to above the hind limb; limbs speckled with black. Lower parts white. Tail red in the young (Boulenger 1921: 5). 
CommentSynonymy: Taylor 1942 synonymized Philochortus hardeggeri taylori with P. phillipsi. 
Etymologynamed after Mr. Lort-Phillips, collector of the types. 
  • 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
  • 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. 1898. On a second collection of reptiles made by Mr. E. Lord-Phillips in Somaliland. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 2: 130-133 - 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
  • Lanza, B. 1983. A list of the Somali amphibians and reptiles. MONITORE ZOOLOGICO ITALIANO, new Ser., SUPPL. 18 (8): 193-247 - get paper here
  • Lanza, B. 1990. Amphibians and reptiles of the Somali Democratic Republic: check list and biogeography. Biogeographia, 14: 407-465 [1988] - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2006. Lizards of Ethiopia (Reptilia Sauria): an annotated checklist, bibliography, gazetteer and identification. Tropical Zoology 19 (1): 21-109 - get paper here
  • Largen, M.J.; Spawls, S. 2010. Amphibians and Reptiles of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Edition Chimaira, Frankfurt, 694 pp.
  • Mazuch, Tomáš 2013. Amphibians and Reptiles of Somaliland and Eastern Ethiopia. Tomáš Mazuch Publishing, 80 pp. ISBN: 978-80-905439-0-4 - get paper here
  • Parker, H. W. 1942. The lizards of British Somaliland. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 1—101 - get paper here
  • Parker,H.W. 1932. Two collections af amphibians and reptiles from British Somaliland. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1932: 335-367
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