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Phoboscincus bocourti (BROCCHI, 1876)

IUCN Red List - Phoboscincus bocourti - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bocourt’s terrific Skink, Bocourt's Eyelid Skink 
SynonymEumeces Bocourti BROCCHI 1876
Phoboscincus bocourti — GREER 1974
Phoboscincus bocourti — SADLIER 1987
Eumeces bocourti — FRANK & RAMUS 1995
Phoboscincus bocourti — ADLER, AUSTIN & DUDLEY 1995
Phoboscincus bocourti — BAUER & SADLIER 2000
Phoboscincus bocourti — LIVIGNI 2013: 313
Phoboscincus bocourti — CHAPPLE et al. 2023 
DistributionNew Caledonia (small islet south of Grande Terre, off Isle of Pines)

Type locality: “Nouvelle-Calédonie”.  
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 3029 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): “Large (SVL up to 280 mm), terrestrial skinks with supranasals, scaly lower eyelids, fuse frontoparietals, and sharply pointed, recurved fang-like teeth in the anterior part of both the upper and lower jaws.” (GREER 1974: 15). 
CommentBoulenger (1883) described Eumeces Bocourtii from Mexico.

Conservation: Has been considered extinct because no specimens have been found between 1872 and 13 (BAUER & SADLIER 13) but about 10 specimens have been found by Ineich (200) and Caut et al. 2013.

Type Species: Eumeces bocourti is the type species of the genus Phoboscincus GREER 1974.

Synonymy: Böhme (1976) synonymised Phoboscincus with Eugongylus but Phoboscincus is clearly unrelated to Eugongylus (Chapple et al. 2023). 
EtymologyThe ,name Phoboscincus combines the Greek noun for 'fear' (Phobos) with the Latin noun for 'skink' (scincus) to give a name that should emphasize the awe-inspiring aspect imparted to these skinks by their large size and sharply pointed teeth (Greer 1974).

The species was named after Marie Firmin Bocourt (1819-1904), French naturalist. 
  • Adler,G.H.; Austin,C.C. & Dudley,R. 1995. Dispersal and speciation of skinks among archipelagos in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Evolutionary Ecology 9: 529-541 - get paper here
  • Bauer, A. M. & SADLIER, R. A. 2000. The herpetofauna of New Caledonia. Contributions to Herpetology, 17; Society for Study Amphibians and Reptiles, Ithaca, New York.
  • Bauer, A.M. & Sadlier,R.A. 1993. Systematics, biogeography and conservation of the lizards of New Caledonia. Biodiv. Lett. 1: 107-122 - get paper here
  • Bauer, Aaron M.;Vindum, Jens V. 1990. A checklist and key to the herpetofauna of New Caledonia, with remarks on biogeography. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 47 (2): 17-45 - 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. 1883. Descriptions of new species of lizards and frogs collected by Herr A. Forrer in Mexico. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (5) 11: 342-344 - get paper here
  • Brocchi, P. [given as M. Brocchi for “Monsieur”] 1876. Sur un Scincoiden nouveau appartenant au genre Eumeces. Bull. Soc. Philomatique de Paris (6) 12: 95-97 - get paper here
  • Caut S, Holden M, Jowers MJ, Boistel R, Ineich I 2013. Is Bocourt’s Terrific Skink Really So Terrific? Trophic Myth and Reality. PLoS One 8 (10): e78638 - get paper here
  • Chapple, D., Chapple, S., Smith, S., Shea, G., Brennan, I., & Sadlier, R. 2023. Phylogenetic relationships in the Eugongylini (Squamata: Scincidae): generic limits and biogeography. Australian Journal of Zoology 70(6): 165–203 - get paper here
  • Greer, A.E. 1974. The generic relationships of the scincid lizard genus Leiolopisma and its relatives. Australian Journal of Zoology 31: 1-67. - get paper here
  • Ineich I 2009. Bocourt’s Terrific Skink, Phoboscincus bocourti Brocchi, 1876 (Squamata, Scincidae, Lygosominae), in GraNdCoLaS P. (ed.), Zoologia Neocaledonica 7. Biodiversity studies in New Caledonia. Mémoires du Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle 198: 149-174. Paris, ISBN: <br />978-2-85653-618-6.
  • INEICH, Ivan; Ross A. SADLIER, Aaron M. BAUER, Todd R. JACKMAN & Sarah A. SMITH 2014. Bocourt’s terrific Skink, Phoboscincus bocourti (Brocchi, 1876), and the Monophyly of the Genus Phoboscincus Greer, 1974 (Reptilia: Scincidae). Memoires du Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 206: 69-78
  • LiVigni, F. (ed.) 2013. A Life for Reptiles and Amphibians, Volume 1. Chimaira, Frankfurt, 495 pp. - get paper here
  • Shea G M. 1995. A taxonomic revision of the Cyclodomorphus casuarinae complex (Squamata: Scincidae). Rec. Austral. Mus. 47 (1): 83-115. - get paper here
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