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Saiphos equalis (GRAY, 1825)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Yellow-bellied Three-toed Skink, Three-toed Skink 
SynonymSeps equalis GRAY 1825: 202
Anguis lacertina GRAY 1831: 72 (nomen nudum)
Siaphos aequalis — GRAY 1839 (emendation)
Lygosoma (Siaphos) aequale — LONGMAN 1915: 34
Saiphos equalis — COGGER 1983: 183
Saiphos equalis — COGGER 2000: 572
Saiphos aequalis — GREER et al. 2006 
DistributionAustralia (New South Wales, SE Queensland)  
ReproductionS. equalis is only one of 3 or so species that are known to have both viviparous and oviparous reproduction (STEWART et al. 2010, Laird et al. 2019). 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.16.88, from unknown locality. 
CommentSynonymy after COGGER 1983.

Type Species: Seps equalis GRAY 1825 is the type species of the genus Saiphos GRAY 1831.

Phylogenetics: see Singhal et al. 2017 and 2018 for a phylogeny of Australian sphenomorphine skinks.

Limb morphology: 3 digits, 3 toes (Brandley et al 2008)

Morphology: Hutchinson et al. 2021 present a table of morphological character states across 20 Australian sphenomorphine skinks, including this genus. 
  • Beltrán I, Loiseleur R, Durand V & Whiting M.J. 2020. Effects of early thermal environment on the behavior and learning of a lizard with bimodal reproduction. Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology 74: 73 - get paper here
  • Beltrán, I., Durand, V., Loiseleur, R. et al. 2020. Effect of early thermal environment on the morphology and performance of a lizard species with bimodal reproduction. J Comp Physiol B (2020) - get paper here
  • Biazik, Joanna M.; Michael B. Thompson, and Christopher R. Murphy 2010. Paracellular and transcellular transport across the squamate uterine epithelium. Herp. Cons. Biol. 5 (2) - get paper here
  • 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
  • Foster, C.S., Thompson, M.B., Van Dyke, J.U., Brandley, M.C. and Whittington, C.M. 2020. Emergence of an evolutionary innovation: Gene expression differences associated with the transition between oviparity and viviparity. Mol Ecol. - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1831. A synopsis of the species of Class Reptilia. In: Griffith, E & E. Pidgeon: The animal kingdom arranged in conformity with its organisation by the Baron Cuvier with additional descriptions of all the species hither named, and of many before noticed [V Whittaker, Treacher and Co., London: 481 + 110 pp. [1830]
  • Gray, J.E. 1825. A synopsis of the genera of reptiles and Amphibia, with a description of some new species. Annals of Philosophy, 10:193—217 - get paper here
  • Greer, A.; David, P. & Teynié, A. 2006. The Southeast Asian scincid lizard Siaphos tridigitus Bourret, 1939 (Reptilia, Scincidae): a second specimen. Zoosystema 28 (3) : 785-790
  • Hugi, Jasmina; Mark N. Hutchinson, D. Koyabu, Marcelo R. Sánchez-Villagra 2012. Heterochronic shifts in the ossification sequences of surface- and subsurface-dwelling skinks are correlated with the degree of limb reduction. Zoology 115 (3): 188-198 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson, M. N., Couper, P., Amey, A., & Wilmer, J. W. 2021. Diversity and Systematics of Limbless Skinks (Anomalopus) from Eastern Australia and the Skeletal Changes that Accompany the Substrate Swimming Body Form. Journal of Herpetology 55 (4): 361-384 - get paper here
  • Johnson, R. 2002. A western range extension for the skink Saiphos equalis. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 48(1): 92 - get paper here
  • Laird, Melanie K.; Michael B. Thompson and Camilla M. Whittington 2019. Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis) Biology Letters 15 (4): - get paper here
  • Laird, Melanie K.;Thompson, Michael B.and Whittington, Camilla M. 2019. Facultative oviparity in a viviparous skink (Saiphos equalis). Biology Letters, 15(4): 20180827 - get paper here
  • Longman, H. A. 1915. Reptiles from Queensland and the Northern Territory. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 3: 30-34. - get paper here
  • Mo, Matthew 2015. Herpetofaunal community of the constructed Lime Kiln Bay Wetland, south Sydney, New South Wales. Victorian Naturalist 132 (3): 64-72 - get paper here
  • Murphy, Michael J. 1994. Reptiles and amphibians of Seven Mile Beach National park, NSW. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 24 (2): 24-30
  • Parker, Scott L.; Christopher R. Murphy, and Michael B. Thompson 2010. Uterine angiogenesis in squamate reptiles: Implications for the evolution of viviparity. Herp. Cons. Biol. 5 (2) - get paper here
  • Reeder, T.W. 2003. A phylogeny of the Australian Sphenomorphus group (Scincidae: Squamata) and the phylogenetic placement of the crocodile skinks (Tribolonotus): Bayesian approaches to assessing congruence and obtaining confidence in maximum likelihood inferred relatio Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 27: 384–397 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Stewart, J. R., Mathieson, A. N., Ecay, T. W., Herbert, J. F., Parker, S. L. and Thompson, M. B. 2010. Uterine and eggshell structure and histochemistry in a lizard with prolonged uterine egg retention (Lacertilia, Scincidae, Saiphos). Journal of Morphology doi: 10.1002/jmor.10877 - get paper here
  • Stewart, James R. and Tom W. Ecay 2010. Patterns of maternal provision and embryonic mobilization of calcium in oviparous and viviparous squamate reptiles. Herp. Cons. Biol. 5 (2) - get paper here
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Wu, Qiong; Parker, Scott L.; Thompson, Michael B. 2009. Selected body temperature, metabolic rate and activity pattern of the Australian fossorial skink, Saiphos equalis. The Herpetological Journal 19: 127-133 - get paper here
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