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Phrynosoma brevirostris (GIRARD, 1858)

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Higher TaxaPhrynosomatidae, Phrynosomatinae, Phrynosomatini; Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesGreat Plains Short-horned Lizard 
SynonymPhrynosoma (Tapaya) brevirostris GIRARD 1858: 397
Phrynosoma brevirostre — COPE 1867: 302
Phrynosoma douglassi — GENTRY 1885: 140 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii hernandesi — COPE 1900: 413 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii ornatissimum — VAN DENBURGH 1922: 377 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii brevirostre — SMITH 1946: 302
Phrynosoma douglassii ornatissimum — SMITH 1946: 305 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii brevirostre — REEVE 1952: 913
Phrynosoma douglassii hernandesi — REEVE 1952:922 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii ornatum — REEVE 1952: 930 (part)
Phrynosoma hernandezi — ZAMUDIO et al. 1997: 302 (part)
Phrynosoma douglassii brevirostre — CONANT & COLLINS 1991: 113
Phrynosoma brevirostris — MONTANUCCI 2015 
DistributionCanada (S Alberta, S Sasketchewan),
USA (Wyoming, W North Dakota, W South Dakota, W Nebraska, Utah, Colorado)

Type locality: Restricted to 9.6 km E of Agate, Sioux County, Nebraska by Montanucci 2015. Reeve (1952:913) emended the name of the type locality (Pole Creek) in accordance with its current geographic name, Lodgepole Creek, and restricted the type locality to near Dix, Kimball County, Nebraska.  
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesType: USNM 208; Lectotype: USNM 4592c (designated by Montanucci 2015: 28) 
CommentSynonymy: after Montanucci 2015.

Subspecies: The former subspecies P. d. brevirostre, ornatissimum, and P. d. ornatum have been synonymized with P. hernandesi by Zamudio et al. 1997 but brevirostris and orntaissimum were revalidated by Montanucci 2015.

Group: Belongs to the Tapaja clade fide LEACHE & MCGUIRE 2006.

Size: 6 cm SVL (smallest species of the genus).

Distribution: see maps 1,2 in Montanucci 2015: 163 ff.

Diagnosis. Phrynosoma brevirostris can be distinguished from other members of the P. douglasii species complex by the following combination of adult characters: (1) snout short, 42.9% ± 0.96 (34.9–50%) of orbit to rostral scale distance; (2) rostrofrontal profile more or less rounded or angular with a steep incline; (3) frontal rim not elevated, or only slightly elevated above the occipital shelf; (4) enlarged frontal rim scales 1.14 ± 0.12 (1–2) / 1.14 ± 0.12 (1–2); (5) temporal shelf short, 12.9% ± 0.67 (5.4–17.8%) in males, 16.4% ± 0.64 (9.5–25.4%) in females; (6) temporal shelf weakly to moderately convex; (7) cephalic horns short, third temporal horn length 10.3% ± 0.48 (6.6–16.7%); (8) cephalic horns slightly elevated to nearly vertical; (9) tympanum elliptic, narrow to moderately broad; (10) tympanum exposed; (11) tail moderately long, 220% ± 4.81 (176–276%) in males, 190% ± 3.48 (155–230%) in females; (12) dorsal spots small, wedge-shaped to slightly rounded; (13) light-colored borders of dorsal spots confined to posterior edges; (14) dorsolateral white spots absent; (15) gular area with scattered melanistic spots, with or without vermiculations and with or without gray suffusion (melanin-dispersed phase); (16) abdomen with scattered melanistic flecks and patches, no melanistic spots (melanin-dispersed phase); (17) melanistic subcaudal bands absent (melanin-dispersed phase) [Montanucci 2015].

Comparisons. Phrynosoma brevirostris is distinguished from P. h. hernandesi by a rounded or angular and steeply inclined rostrofrontal profile, a frontal rim not elevated or only slightly elevated above the occipital shelf, fewer enlarged frontal rim scales, a shorter temporal shelf, and shorter occipital and temporal horns that are directed slightly upward to nearly vertical in the majority of specimens. It is further distinguished from P. h. hernandesi and some P. h. ornatum by the absence of large, melanistic spots on the abdomen and the absence of complete or interrupted melanistic subcaudal bands in the melanin-dispersed phase. P. brevirostris is distinguished from nominotypical P. ornatissimum by its frontal rim which is not elevated, or only slightly elevated above the occipital shelf, fewer enlarged frontal rim scales, a relatively longer tail, small wedge-shaped dorsal spots, absence of a discrete yellow and/or white line along the medial border of each dorsal spot (except P. o. brachycercum), and a gular pattern of scattered spots and short vermiculations with or without gray suffusion (melanin-dispersed phase). P. brevirostris can be distinguished from P. douglasii by its slightly longer occipital and temporal horns, a slightly longer temporal shelf that is nearly flat rather than convex and strongly rounded, a slightly broader elliptic and exposed tympanum. It is further distinguished from P. douglasii by a gular pattern of dark spots and/or vermiculations. Comparisons with P. bauri sp. nov. and P. diminutum sp. nov. are given in their respective accounts.

In the Colorado Plateau region of Utah, where P. brevirostris may occur in proximity to P. h. hernandesi, the two taxa may be distinguished by the usual presence of red pigment on the temporal shelf and horns as well as red pigment above the lateral fringe scales of the latter species [Montanucci 2015]. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet brevirostris comes from the Latin adjective brevis,-e, meaning “short”, and a modified version of the second declension Latin neuter noun rostrum, meaning “snout”, in reference to the short or abbreviated snout of this species. Apparently, Girard’s (1858a) intent was to create a compound noun in apposition to the subgeneric name Tapaya (see Smith & Reeve, 1951 for origin of the name), crafting his new name in third declension feminine gender since Tapaya is apparently feminine. Although Girard’s root word rostris does not exist in Latin, Cope (1866:302) modified Girard’s name to brevirostre as though it were an adjective needing to agree with the neuter gender of Phrynosoma. However, since nouns used in apposition to other nouns retain their own gender (only adjectives must agree in gender with the name of the genus), Cope’s alteration of the name was an unnecessary and incorrect subsequent spelling. Therefore, Montanucci 2015 retained Girard’s original spelling for the available name. See ICZN articles 31.2.1. and 34.2.1. 
References
  • Conant,R. & Collins,J.T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern/Central North America, 3rd ed. Houghton Mifflin (Boston/New York), xx + 450 p.
  • Cope, E.D. 1867. On the REPTILIA and BATRACHIA of the Sonoran Province of the Nearctic Region. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 18 [1866]: 300-314 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1900. The crocodilians, lizards and snakes of North America. Ann. Rep. U.S. Natl. Mus. 1898: 153-1270 - get paper here
  • Gentry, A.F. 1885. A review of the genus Phrynosoma. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philad. (ser. 3) 37: 138-148 - get paper here
  • Girard, Charles F. 1858. United States Exploring Expedition during the Years 1838, 1839, 1840, 1841, 1842, Under the command of Charles Wilkes, U.S.N. Vol. 20. Herpetology. C. Sherman & Son, Philadelphia, xv, 492 pages [see note in Zhao and Adler 1993: 369] - get paper here
  • MONTANUCCI, RICHARD R. 2015. A taxonomic revision of the Phrynosoma douglasii species complex (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae) Zootaxa 4015 (1): 001–177
  • Reeve, Wayne L. 1952. Taxonomy and distribution of the horned lizard genus Phrynosoma. Univ. Kansas Sci. Bull. 34 (14): 817-960 - get paper here
  • Smith, Hobart M. 1946. Handbook of Lizards: Lizards of the United States and of Canada. Comstock, Ithaca, NY, xxii + 557 pp.
  • Van Denburgh, John 1922. The Reptiles of Western North America. Volume I. Lizards and Volume II. Snakes and Turtles. Occ. Pap. Cal. Acad. Sci. (10): 1–612; 613-1028 - get paper here
  • Zamudio, Kelly R., Jones, K. Bruce & Ward, Ryk H. 1997. Molecular systematics of Short-horned lizards: Biogeography and taxonomy of a widespread species complex. Systematic Biology 46 (2): 284-305 - get paper here
 
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