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Plestiodon takarai KURITA, OTA & HIKIDA, 2017

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesJapanese: Senkaku-Tokage
E: Senkaku Skink 
SynonymPlestiodon takarai KURITA, OTA & HIKIDA 2017
Eumeces elegans — TAKARA 1954: 69
Eumeces elegans — IKEHARA & SHIMOJANA 1971: 91
Eumeces elegans — HIKIDA 1979: 42 (part)
Eumeces elegans — HIKIDA 1993: 2 (part)
Eumeces elegans — OTA et al. 1993: 250
Eumeces elegans — ZHAO & ADLER 1993: 210 (part)
Eumeces elegans — HIKIDA 1996: 80 (part)
Eumeces elegans — HIKIDA 2002: 209 (part)
Eumeces elegans — UCHIYAMA et al. 2002: 231 (part)
Eumeces elegans — GORIS & MAEDA 2004: 161
Eumeces elegans — OTA 2004: 37
Eumeces elegans — LIN 2007: 34 (part)
Plestiodon elegans — MAENOSONO & TODA 2007: 39
Plestiodon elegans — MATSUHASHI & TOMITA 2007: 105 (part)
Plestiodon elegans — OTANI 2009: 205 (part)
Plestiodon elegans — SHANG et al. 2009: 208 (part)
Plestiodon elegans — YOKOHATA et al. 2009: 311
Plestiodon elegans — TAKADA & OHTANI 2011: 109 (part)
Plestiodon elegans — OTA 2014: 18
Plestiodon elegans — SEKI 2016: 98 (part). 
DistributionJapan (Kitakojima Island)

Type locality: Kitakojima Island in the Senkaku Group  
Reproductionoviparous. An adult female that was collected on Uotsurijima Island in May 1979 (KUZ R18922) contained three ova (largest = 2.9 mm diameter). The testis size of adult males collected on Kubajima Island in May 1991 (KUZ R39041–43) ranged from 3.2 to 3.6 mm (mean = 3.4 mm) in maximum diameter. Ota (2004) observed the brooding behavior of females on Kitakojima Island, whereby each female surrounded her clutch with the whole body and tail in nests that were located beneath coral rocks on the ground. He also noted the clutch size (6–7), egg size (length = 15.0–17.9 mm; width = 10.9–12.3 mm; mass = 0.94–1.43 g), hatchling size (SVL = 27.9–30.8 mm; TaL = 42.3–47.3 mm; mass = 0.46–0.62 g), and hatchling date (mid to late June) on that island. 
TypesHolotype: KUZ R32170, an adult female from Kitakojima Island in the Senkaku Group, collected on 16 June 1995 by H. Ota. Paratypes. One adult and two yearling males, and one adult and one yearling females from Uotsurijima Island: RUMF-ZH-00862 collected on 16 April 1952 by T. Takara; KUZ R18921–24 collected in late May 1979 by S. Ikehara. One adult and four subadult males, and three adult and one subadult female from Kitakojima Island: KUZ R32162–69, R35252 (the same collection data as the holotype). One subadult and one hatchling male from Minamikojima Island: OPM-H-560 collected on 12 September 1974 (collector unknown); KUZ R18077 collected on 25 May 1991 by N. Sakaguchi. Three adult males from Kubajima Island: KUZ R39041–43 collected on 26 May 1991 by N. Sakaguchi. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Plestiodon takarai is assigned to the P. latiscutatus species group (sensu Hikida 1993) based on the presence of a fan-shaped upper secondary temporal scale with an emarginated posterior margin and keeled postanal scales. This species differs from the other members of the P. latiscutatus species group excluding P. elegans (i.e., P. latiscutatus; P. marginatus; P. japonicas [Peters, 1864]; P. oshimensis; P. stimpsonii; P. barbouri [Van Denburgh, 1912a]; P. finitimus Okamoto & Hikida, 2012; and P. kuchinoshimensis) by having EISPF (EISPF absent in the latter eight species of this species group).
Morphologically, P. takarai is most similar to P. elegans. However, it differs from this species in terms of the MSR, TIV, SL-PL, APF, and tail coloration of hatchlings (Table 5; Fig. 4). Plestiodon takarai can be distinguished from P. elegans from continental China in having a larger number of MSR (range = 26–29 [mean ± SD = 27.8 ± 0.6, n = 20] vs. 24–28 [usually 26] in P. elegans from the continent [Van Denburgh 1912b; Taylor 1936; Dong 1991; Huang, 1999]), a larger number of TIV (range = 18–24 [mean ± SD = 21.3 ± 1.4, n = 20] vs. usually less than 18 in P. elegans from the continent [Van Denburgh 1912b; Dong 1991; Huang 1999]), the posterior loreal that is contact with usually three SL (40–67% vs. mostly two SL [90%] in P. elegans from the continent [Hikida 1989]), and prefrontal scales that is separate (100% vs. usually in contact [60%] in P. elegans from the continent [Van Denburgh 1912b]). Plestiodon takarai differs from P. elegans from Taiwan in having a larger number of MSR (more than 26 vs. usually less than 26 in P. elegans from Taiwan [Stejneger 1907; Van Denburgh 1912b]). Plestiodon takarai further differs from P. elegans from the Penghu Group in having a larger number of MSR (more than 26 vs. less than 26 in P. elegans from the Penghu Group [Stejneger 1907; Van Denburgh 1912b]), the posterior loreal that is contact with usually three SL (40–67% vs. mainly two SL [71%] in P. elegans from the Penghu Group), and a larger number of TIV (more than 18 vs. less than 18 in P. elegans from the Penghu Group [Van Denburgh 1912b]). In addition to these differences in scutellation, P. takarai is also distinct from P. elegans in hatchling tail coloration (light blue in the distal half and dark gray or tan in the proximal half vs. dark brilliant blue or violet in the whole tail [Zhao & Adler 1993; Kato & Ota 1994; Ota 2004] or blue in the distal half and greenish blue in the proximal half [K. Kurita and T. Hikida, personal observation] in P. elegans).
CommentHabitat: around rocks in various habitats, including coastal areas, shrublands, mountain forests, and grasslands.

Diet: The stomach contents of a hatchling female from Uotsurijima Island (KUZ R18923) included two beach fleas, a wharf roach, a lepidopteran larva, and a leafhopper nymph, while on Minamikojima Island, this species was observed taking a piece of half-digested fish that had been regurgitated by a booby for its chick (Hikida 1979; H. Ota, private communication from the late Dr. Sadao Ikehara with motion films). A similar interaction between these lizards and nesting seabirds was also observed on Uotsurijima Island (Ota 2014; H. Ota, private communication from the late Dr. Sadao Ikehara with motion films) (Kurita et al. 2017). 
EtymologyThe species name is dedicated to the late Dr. Tetsuo Takara, Emeritus Professor at the University of the Ryukyus. As the pioneer of modern biological and geological studies on the Senkaku Group after WWII, Dr. Takara led the survey team and conducted fieldwork on this island group five times between 1950 and 1968 (Senkaku Survey Team 2007). 
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