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Pygmaeascincus timlowi (INGRAM, 1977)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Dwarf Litter-skink 
SynonymMenetia timlowi INGRAM 1977
Lygisaurus timlowi — INGRAM & COVACEVICH 1988
Menetia timlowi — GREER 1991
Menetia timlowi — COGGER 2000: 541
Menetia timlowi — WILSON & SWAN 2010: 318
Menetia timlowi — COGGER 2014: 658
Pygmaeascincus timlowi — COUPER & HOSKIN 2014
Pygmeascincus timlowi — CHAPPLE et al. 2023 (in error, by implication) 
DistributionAustralia (Queensland)

Type locality: Barmount, 80 km NW of Marlborough, 22° 32’ S, 149° 06’ E, mideastern Qld.  
TypesHolotype: QM J24940 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Pygmaeascincus is a genus of small litter skinks that is distinguished from all other Australian skinks by the following character states: small size (SVL < 30 mm); limbs short and widely separated when adpressed; digital formula 4/5 (four fingers, five toes) with ≤ 10 supradigital scales on fourth toe; frontoparietals and interparietal fused into a single shield; eyelid preablepharine; supraoculars transverse, ≤ 3, squarish, with only the 1st contacting the frontal.

Diagnosis: “Two supraoculars, the first not much more than twice as long as wide. Supraciliaries 5, subequal. Upper most circumocular scales greatly enlarged. Two presuboculars. Interparietal fused to frontoparietals. Further distinguished from Carlia burnetti by completely fused eyelid.” (Ingram 1977)

Description: “Snout-vent length (mm): 22-26 (N = 3, mean 24.3). Tail up to 1.32 as long as snout to vent (N = 1). Nasals very widely separated. Prefrontals separated. Two presuboculars. Two supraoculars (on one specimen these are fused), the first about twice as long as wide, and a little longer than the second. No large upper postocular. Supraciliaries 5, subequal. Upper circumoculars enlarged, appearing like a second row of supraciliaries. Upper labials 6, 4th below the orbit, and 5th very large. Intraparietal fused to frontoparietal. Midbody scale rows 20 (N = 3). Lamellae under fourth toe 15-17 (N = 3, mean 16.3).” (Ingram 1977)

Colour:”Brown dorsally, dark brown. laterally, broken into dots on side of tail and head. Underside of tail heavily flecked with brown, rest of ventral surface sparsely flecked, but neck and chin white.” (Ingram 1977) 
CommentType species: Menetia timlowi INGRAM 1977 is the type species of the genus Pygmaeascincus COUPER & HOSKIN 2014. Pygmaescincus corresponds to the Menetia timlowi species group fide Greer 1991.

Greer 1991: 272 has a table comparing the 3 members of the genus. 
EtymologyFrom the Latin pygmaea for pygmy. Referring to the very small size of the three species. These skinks, at SVL < 30 mm, are amongst the smallest skinks in the world (Greer 2001). The species has been named after Tim Low who apparently discovered it. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • COUPER, PATRICK J.; CONRAD J. HOSKIN 2014. A new genus to accommodate three skinks currently assigned to Menetia (Lacertilia: Scincidae). Zootaxa 3884 (6): 597–599 - get paper here
  • Greer A E 1991. Two new species of Menetia from northeastern Queensland, with comments on the generic diagnoses of Lygisaurus and Menetia. Journal of Herpetology 25 (3): 268-272 - get paper here
  • Greer, Allen E. 2001. Distribution of maximum snout-vent length among species of Scincid lizards. Journal of Herpetology 35 (3): 383-395 - get paper here
  • Ingram G J 1977. Three species of small lizards - two of them new. Genus Menetia (Lacertilia, Scincidae) in Queensland. Victorian Naturalist 94: 184-187 - get paper here
  • Ingram G; Covacevich J 1988. Revision of the genus Lygisaurus de Vis (Scincidae: Reptilia) in Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 25 (2): 335-354 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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