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Philochortus rudolfensis PARKER, 1932

IUCN Red List - Philochortus rudolfensis - Data Deficient, DD

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Southern Shield-backed Lizard 
SynonymPhilochortus intermedius rudolfensis PARKER 1932: 226
Philochortus intermedius rudolfensis — ANGEL 1936: 104
Philochortus intermedius rudolfensis — LANZA 1988: 428
Philochortus rudolfensis — SPAWLS et al. 2001: 164
Philochortus rudolfensis — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2006: 63
Philochortus rudolfensis — LARGEN & SPAWLS 2010: 362
Philochortus rudolfensis — SPAWLS et al 2018: 191 
DistributionN Kenya (Lake Rudolf, Lake Turkana), S Ethiopia, probably in Sudan (L. Chirio, pers. comm.)

Type locality: near the mouth of the Kaliokwell River, Lake Rudolf.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.9.3.44, male (was: 1932.5.2.6) 
DiagnosisPhilochortus rudolfensis is distinguished from all other East African lacertids by the presence of 2 longitudinal, mid-dorsal rows of enlarged scales (about twice the width of the rest of the body scales) (SPAWLS et al. 2001).

Description: Head a little depressed, about once and two-thirds as long as broad, its depth equal to the distance between the centre of the eye and the tympanum. Snout pointed, with rounded canthus rostralia. Hind limb reaching to half-way between the fore limb and the ear foot once and a half as long as the bead. Nostril separated from the first upper labial and the postnasal by a narrow rim; prefrontal separated by a median granule; frontal as long as its distance from the tip of the snout, once and a half as long as broad; parietals once and a third as long as broad interparietal rhomboidal, once and two-thirds as long as broad, separated from the occipital by a group of three granules; four supraoculars, the fourth broken up into four sales; five supraciliaries, separated from the second and third supraoculars by a row of granules. Rostral not entering the nostril; single postnasal: anterior loreal shorter than the second; five upper labial anterior to the subocular; a long narrow temporal along almost the whole outer margin of the parietal. (Parker 1932: 226)

Scales feebly keeled posteriorly, smooth anteriorly; two median rows largest; 32 dorsal and laterals across the middle of the body; 14 enlarged, feebly keeled scales between the hind limbs. Ventrals in 6 longitudinal and 28 transverse series; 20 gular scales in a longitudinal median series; 7 plates in the collar; caudal scales strongly keeled, 22 in the fourth whorl; 10 femoral pores on each side, 27 lamellae beneath the fourth toe. (Parker 1932: 226)

Colouration: as in the typical form [i.e. intermedius] (Parker 1932: 226)

Size: End of snout to vent 46 mm; length of head 10; width of head 6; depth of head 5; fore limb 15; hind limb 29; foot 15; tail 130. (Parker 1932: 226) 
CommentAbundance: Philochortus (intermedius) rudolfensis is only known from 5 specimens, so its variation is not sufficiently known. 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality, Lake Rudolf. 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1917. On the lizards of the genus Philochortus MATSCHIE. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1917: 145-157 - get paper here
  • Kirchhof S, Wasonga V, Mazuch T, Spawls S, Malonza KP. 2023. An annotated checklist of the herpetofauna of the Sibiloi National Park in northern Kenya based on field surveys. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 17(1/2) [General Section]: 1–18 (e324) - 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.
  • Parker, H. W. 1942. The lizards of British Somaliland. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 91: 1—101 - get paper here
  • Parker,H.W. 1932. Scientific results of the Cambridge expedition to the east African lakes, 1930-31. 5. Reptiles and amphibians. Zool. J. Linnean Soc. 38: 213-229 - get paper here
  • Scortecci, G. 1930. Secondo contributo alla conoscenza dei rettili della Somalia Italiana. Atti della Società Italiana di Scienze Naturali e del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale in Milano, 69:127—152. [1931] - get paper here
  • Spawls, S. & Rotich, D. 1997. An annotated checklist of the lizards of Kenya. J. East African Nat. Hist. 86: 61-83
  • Spawls, S.; Howell, K.; Drewes, R.C. & Ashe, J. 2002. A field guide to the reptiles of East Africa. Academic Press, 543 pp. [reviews in HR 34: 396 and Afr. J. Herp. 51; 147] - get paper here
  • Spawls, Steve; Kim Howell, Harald Hinkel, Michele Menegon 2018. Field Guide to East African Reptiles. Bloomsbury, 624 pp. - get paper here
  • Stephen Spawls; Tomáš Mazuch& Abubakr Mohammad 2023. Handbook of Amphibians and Reptiles of North-east Africa. Bloomsbury, 640 pp. - get paper here
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