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Saproscincus saltus HOSKIN, 2013

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymSaproscincus saltus HOSKIN 2013 
DistributionAustralia (NE Queensland)

Type locality: Melville Range (14°16'38" S, 144°29'28" E, elevation 500 m), Cape Melville, north-east Queensland Map legend:
TDWG region - Region according to the TDWG standard, not a precise distribution map.

NOTE: TDWG regions are generated automatically from the text in the distribution field and not in every cases it works well. We are working on it.
 
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: QM J92572, C. J. Hoskin, 20 March 2013.
Paratypes: QMJ92561, QMJ92562, collection details as for holotype. 
CommentDiagnosis. Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. is diagnosed from congeners by the following combination of characters: moderate body size (SVL 38.4–42.9 mm), long limbs (L1/SVL 32.3–33.8%, L2/SVL 45.5–46.3%), long digits (4th finger/SVL 7.3–7.6%, 4th toe/SVL 10.5–12.2%), flattened head (HD/SVL 8.2–9.0%), 22–26 lamellae under 4th toe, 23–24 midbody scales, 52–55 paravertebral scales, and parietal scales each bordered by a single nuchal and two temporal scales (i.e., 6 scales contacting posterior margin of parietal scales). The golden dorsal colour with dark flanks is also diagnostic (Figs 3, 4A in HOSKIN 2013).

Comparison with similar species. Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. can be distinguished from congeners by its long limbs and digits, and its unique colouration of golden dorsum and dark flanks with golden spots. In more detail the following traits distinguish S. saltus sp. nov. from congeners. It is assigned to the ‘northern’ group of Saproscincus (S. basiliscus, S. lewisi, S. tetradactylus, S. czechurai, S. hannahae) by the fact that each parietal scale is bordered by a single nuchal and two temporal scales (i.e., typically 6 scales contacting posterior margin of parietal scales) (Fig. 2). In all other Saproscincus species each parietal scale is bordered by a single nuchal and temporal scale (i.e., typically 4 scales contacting posterior margin of parietal scales). Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. can be distinguished from S. tetradactylus by having 5 fingers (vs 4). Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. can be distinguished from S. czechurai and S. hannahae by larger size (max SVL 42.9 mm vs 34 mm for S. czechurai and 38.4 mm for S. hannahae), longer limbs (L2/SVL 45.5–46.3% vs 27–35% for S. czechurai and 34–45.5% for S. hannahae), more 4th toe lamellae (22–26 vs 15–19 for S. czechurai and 16–22 for S. hannahae), and golden dorsum (vs brown for S. czechurai and S. hannahae). Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. is most similar to S. lewisi and S. basiliscus (Fig. 4). Distinguished from S. lewisi by longer limbs and digits (non-overlapping ranges for L1/SVL, FLL/SVL, 4th finger/SVL, L2/SVL, HLL/SVL, 4th toe/SVL; Table 1), flatter head (HD/SVL 8.2–9.0% vs 9.3–9.9%), more 4th toe lamellae (mean 24 vs 21), and more paravertebral scales (52–55 vs 46–50) (Table1). Distinguished from S. basiliscus by smaller size (mean SVL 40.2 mm vs 42.4 mm), longer limbs and digits (non-overlapping ranges for 4th finger/SVL, L2/SVL, HLL/SVL; nearly non-overlapping ranges for L1/SVL, FLL/SVL, 4th toe/SVL; Table 1), flatter head (HD/SVL 8.2–9.0% vs 9.2– 11.0%), more 4th toe lamellae (mean 24 vs 21), and fewer midbody scale rows (mean 23 vs 26) (Table1). Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. is further distinguished from S. lewisi and S. basiliscus by its golden dorsum (vs shades of brown) and dark flanks with golden spots (vs typically shades of brown, sometimes dark upper flanks, without golden spots) (Fig. 4). Saproscincus saltus sp. nov. is the only Saproscincus known to occur at Cape Melville. 
Etymologysaltus; from the Latin for leaping. In recognition of the agility of this species across boulders. The species epithet is treated as a noun in apposition. 
References
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp.
  • Hoskin, C.J. 2013. A new skink (Scincidae: Saproscincus) from rocky rainforest habitat on Cape Melville, north-east Australia. Zootaxa 3722 (3): 385–395 - get paper here
 
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