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Plestiodon popei (HIKIDA, 1989)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Pope's Skink
Chinese: 崇安石龙子 
SynonymEumeces popei HIKIDA 1989
Eumeces popei — GRIFFITH, NGO & MURPHY 2000
Plestiodon popei — SCHMITZ et al. 2004
Plestiodon popei — WANG et al. 2022 
DistributionChina (Fujian)

Type locality: Chong’an (Ch’ungan) County, Fujian (= Fukien), China.  
TypesHolotype: AMNH 34835 
DiagnosisDiagnosis:-This new species is assigned to the fasciatus group due to having five dorsal stripes (only four in the monotypic quadrilineatus group), and a single postmental (divided in the obsoletusgroup). It differs from all Asian species of this group (see comparisons below), except E. xanthi, by having triangular lower secondary temporals. It differs from E. xanthi by having a single postmental and extremely widened subcaudals. The combined occurrence of five stripes, a single postmental and triangular lower secondary temporals serves to distinguish E. popei n. sp. from all Asian species of Eumeces (Hikida 1989).

Comparisonwith East Asiatic species.-Three intrageneric groups and 13 species of Eumeceshave been recorded from East Asia (Taylor, 1935; Bourret, 1937; Doi and Kamita, 1937). Eumeces popei is a typical five-lined skink and distinct from a four-lined form, E. quadrilineatus, a unique member of the quadrilineatus group. It also differs from all the Asian members of the obsoletusgroup (E. chinensis,E. coreensis,E. kishinouyei, E. tamdaoensis) in having an undivided postmental and an irregular patch of femoral scales. A poorly known species, E. tamdaoensis had been assigned to the fasciatus group (Fitch, 1954; Lieb, 1985), but a recent re-examination revealed its close affinity to E. chinensis(Hikida and Darevsky, 1987). The fasciatus group includes nine Asian species: six species distributed in Japan and three in China. Eumecespopei differs from all the Japanese members of the fasciatus group (E. okadae, E. latiscutatus, E. barbouri,E. marginatus,E. oshimensis,E. stimpsonii) in having a triangular lower secondary temporal and an irregular femoral patch, and in lacking a pair of keeled postanal scales. It is also different from E. tunganus and E. elegans in possessing a triangular lower secondary temporal and fewer mid-body scale rows. It resembles E. xanthi in having a triangular lower secondary temporal, a pair of postnasals, a femoral irregular patch and a smaller number of mid-body scale rows (22-24),andinlackingfemoralpostanalscales. It differs from E. xanthi in possessing an undivided postmental and extremely widened subcaudals, resulting in fewer scale rows on the tail (Hikida 1989). 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after American herpetologist Clifford Hillhouse Pope (1899-1974) who made important contributions to the herpetology of China. 
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • BRANDLEY, MATTHEW C.; OTA, HIDETOSHI; HIKIDA, TSUTOMU; NIETO MONTES DE OCA, ADRIAN; FERIA-ORTIZ, MANUEL; GUO, XIANGUANG; WANG, YUEZHAO 2012. The phylogenetic systematics of blue-tailed skinks (Plestiodon) and the family Scincidae. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 165 (1): 163-189 - get paper here
  • Griffith, H., A. Ngo & R. W. Murphy 2000. A cladistic evaluation of the cosmopolitan genus Eumeces Wiegmann (Reptilia, Squamata, Scincidae). Russ. J. Herpetol. 7 (1): 1-16 - get paper here
  • Hikida T 1989. A new species of Eumeces (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from Fujian Province, China. Copeia 1989 (1): 89-94 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Resetar, A.R. & Voris, H. K. 1997. Herpetology at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago: the first one hundred years. in: Collection Building in Ichthyology and Herpetology, ASIH 1997, pp.495-506
  • Schmitz, Andreas; Patrick Mausfeld and Dirk Embert 2004. Molecular studies on the genus Eumeces Wiegmann, 1834: phylogenetic relationships and taxonomic implications. Hamadryad 28 (1-2): 73 – 89 - get paper here
  • Wang, C. G. M. Z. X., Jia, S. Y. K. T. L., & Hu, C. Z. J. 2022. An updated species checklist of amphibians and reptiles in Fujian Province, China. Biodiversity Science, 22090 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
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