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Plica rayi MURPHY & JOWERS, 2013

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Higher TaxaTropiduridae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesRay’s Treerunner 
SynonymPlica rayi MURPHY & JOWERS 2013
Plica plica – ETHERIDGE 1970: 242 (in part) 
DistributionVenezuela (Amazonas), Colombia (Puerto Carreno, Vichada); the two localities are about 65 km apart.

Type locality: Venezuela, Amazonas, Puerto Ayacucho (~05°39'N; 67°38'W), on the Orinoco River. Other localities: Tobogan de la Selva (~5°23'13"N, 67°37'W) and Raudal de Danto at Autana (4°48'N, 67°29'W, 89 m elevation).  
TypesHolotype: FMNH 177926 a male. Collected by Gary Myers in 1962. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A Plica with greatly reduce mucronate scales, the two clusters on the neck reduced to small knobs; in overall appearance this lizard has a smooth external texture; 182–202 scales around mid-body (more than any other Plica species); seven subocular plates; scales on snout juxtaposed and flat; nasal scales separated from rostral by a single scale; spiny scales around auditory meatus greatly reduced or completely absent; lamella under fourth toe 36–45 (more than any other Plica species). Males have a well-developed dorsal crest that extends onto the tail; females have this crest greatly reduced. Plica caribeana sp. n. has 125 or fewer scales around mid-body and imbricate, keeled scales on the snout. Plica kathleenae sp. n. has 158 scales at mid-body and imbricate scales on the snout. Plica medemi sp. n. has 145 scale rows at mid-body and well developed spines on the anterior margin of the auditory meatus. Plica plica has 140 or fewer scales around mid-body; keeled, imbricated scales on the snout, and has well developed spiny scales. The two tepui associated species (P. lumaria and P. pansticta) have fewer scale rows around the body (141–164), imbricate scales on the snout and fewer lamellae on the toes.
CommentVariation: In May, coinciding with the initiation of rains, males have a bright red-orange head coloration not observed in other months (July, September, or December). 
EtymologyThis lizard is named in honor of Ray Pawley, former Curator of Reptiles at Brookfield Zoo, for his lifelong interests and work on amphibians and reptiles. 
  • Murphy JC, Jowers MJ 2013. Treerunners, cryptic lizards of the Plica plica group (Squamata, Sauria,Tropiduridae) of northern South America. ZooKeys 355: 49–77 - get paper here
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