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Sceloporus hesperus BRYSON & GRUMMER, 2021

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Higher TaxaPhrynosomatidae, Sceloporinae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymSceloporus hesperus BRYSON & GRUMMER 2021 
DistributionMexico (Jalisco)

Type locality: 2.2 km (by air) SE Lago de Juanacatlán, Sierra de Mascota, municipality of Mascota, Jalisco (N 20.6102°, W 104.7208°, 2314 m; WGS84)  
TypesHolotype: MZFC 35571, adult male (field number RWB 1107), collected 10 April 2011 by R. W. Bryson Jr. and M. Torocco.
Paratypes: Same data as holotype (MZFC 35572–35575). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Sceloporus hesperus is a member of the S. scalaris group, sharing with other species in that group parallel lateral scale rows, femoral pore series that are either in contact or separated by no more than two scales, females with smooth preanal scales, and males with lateral abdominal color patches (Smith 1939; Smith et al. 1997; Watkins-Cowell et al. 2006). Sceloporus hesperus can be distinguished from other species in this group by the following combination of characters: single canthal on each side of the head, small adult size (SVL less than 47 mm, average 45.4 mm), 41–47 dorsal scales (average 43), 40–45 scales around midbody (average 43), 37–39 ventral scales (average 38), tibia length/head length proportion of 0.75–0.89 (average 0.84), 11–17 scales bordering the interpariatel scale (average 14), adult females with lightly mottled or pale venters, and adult males with extensive dark pigment on the venter, heavily mottled throats, and orange or rust-colored flanks (BRYSON & GRUMMER 2021).

Variation. Variation in meristic and mensural characters of male and female paratypes is summarized in Tables 3–4. All males have heavily mottled, dark turquoise throats. Ventral surfaces of two males (including the holotype) are similarly dark in preservative, with a distinct pale-colored patch extending midventrally from about the intersection of the hindlimbs towards the front limbs; in the third, the belly is much less melanized. The dorsal surface of males ranges from weakly patterned to patternless. In weakly patterned individuals, such as the holotype, the dark brown transverse bars between the vertebral and dorsolateral stripes are dimly evident. Figure 7 shows the coloration of an adult male in life; particularly noticeable are the orange-colored flanks of males. Of the two paratype females, one has a lightly mottled throat and ventral surface, while the other is pale. The dorsal surface of one female is strongly patterned, and marked with sharply defined dark transverse bars; the other female is patternless (BRYSON & GRUMMER 2021).

Comparisons. Sceloporus hesperus is one of the smallest species in the S. scalaris group, having a mean SVL of 45.4 mm. Sceloporus chaneyi, previously reported to be the smallest S. scalaris group species, has a mean SVL of 45.7 mm (Liner & Dixon 1992). Sceloporus hesperus is most similar to S. subniger and S. dixoni, sharing with them a single canthal on each side of the head, relatively short legs (tibia length/head length proportion less than 0.9), small adult size (maximum SVL less than 63 mm), 36–50 dorsal scales, extensive dark pigment on the venter of adult males, a black-barred or darkly mottled chin/throat in adult males, orange or rust-colored flanks in adult males, and oviparity. Sceloporus hesperus can be distinguished from S. subniger by the combination of its smaller adult size (maximum SVL = 47 mm in S. hesperus vs. 62 mm in S. subniger; average SVL = 45.4 mm vs. 48.6 mm), more dorsal scales (average of 43 vs. 41), more scales around midbody (average of 43 vs. 41), more ventral scales (average of 38 vs. 34), and fewer scales bordering the interpariatel scale (average of 14 vs. 16). Female S. hesperus also have considerably less mottling on the ventral surface than female S. subniger. Sceloporus hesperus differs from S. dixoni by the combination of their smaller adult size (maximum SVL = 47 mm in S. hesperus vs. 54 mm in S. dixoni; average SVL = 45.4 mm vs. 47.1 mm), slightly shorter legs (average tibia length/head length proportion 0.84 vs. 0.86), more ventral scales (average = 38 vs. 35), more dorsal scales (41–47, average = 43 vs. 37–45, average = 41), and more scales around midbody (40–45, average = 43 vs. 37–43, average = 40) (BRYSON & GRUMMER 2021). 
CommentDistribution: see Bryson & Grummer 2021: 342 (Fig. 2) for a (rough) map, as “Sierra de Mascota” (not hesperus). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet is derived from the Greek word hesperos, meaning “western”, and is used in reference to the type locality located at the far western end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. 
  • BRYSON, ROBERT W.; JR., JARED A. GRUMMER, ELIZABETH M. CONNORS, JOSEPH TIRPAK, JOHN E. MCCORMACK, JOHN KLICKA 2021. Cryptic diversity across the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt of Mexico in the montane bunchgrass lizard Sceloporus subniger (Squamata: Phrynosomatidae). Zootaxa 4963 (2): 335–353 - get paper here
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