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Scelotes arenicolus (PETERS, 1854)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesZululand Dwarf Burrowing Skink 
SynonymLithophilus bicolor SMITH 1849: 13
Herpetosaura arenicola PETERS 1854: 619
Scelotes arenicola — BOULENGER 1887: 415
Scelotes bicolor — BOULENGER 1887: 416
Herpetosaura arenicola — TORNIER 1902: 704
Scelotes bicolor — DE WITTE & LAURENT 1943
Scelotes arenicolor [sic] — GREER 1970: 10
Scelotes bicolor — WELCH 1982: 75
Scelotes arenicola arenicola — BROADLEY 1990
Scelotes arenicolus — BAUER et al. 2003: 280
Scelotes arenicola — WHITING et al. 2003
Scelotes arenicola — BAUER 2016
Scelotes arenicolus — BATES et al. 2014: 270 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Zululand), Natal,
S Mozambique (Angoche), Swaziland

Type locality: “Inhambane, Lourenzo-Marques” [= Maputo, Mozambique]

bicolor: Republic of South Africa (Little Namaqualand)  
TypesLectotype: NMW 19059 (Designation by Broadley 1994); Paralectotypes: ZMB 4818, 9413-4, 9415, NMW 19059 (fide Tiedemann et al. 1994).
Holotype: unlocated (Fitzsimons 1937: 269) [bicolor] 
CommentGroup: Belongs to the S. arenicola group.

Morphology: This species lost its forelimb entirely and retains only two digits on the hind limb.

Synonymy: BRANCH & BAUER 2005, Bauer 2016. S. bicolor was known from only the type which is now lost. Note that the name is indeed “arenicola”, despite the fact that Scelotes is masculine. 
EtymologyNamed after the Latin noun arena, "sand," and adjective -cola, "dweller," refer to the habitat where the species lives. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, A.M., Shea, G.M., and Günther, R. 2003. An annotated catalogue of the types of scincid lizards (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) in the collection of the Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (ZMB). Zoologische Reihe. Mitteilungen aus dem Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin 79:253-321
  • Bauer, A.M., Whiting, A.S., and Sadlier, R.A. 2003. A new species of Scelotes, from near Cape Town, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 54:231-237. - get paper here
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M. 2016. On the taxonomic status of two enigmatic southern African fossorial skinks, Scelotes bicolor and S. schebeni African Journal of Herpetology 65 (1): 33-38 | DOI: 10.1080/21564574.2016.1138149 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. & Bauer, Aaron M. 2005. The herpetological contributions of Sir Andrew Smith. SSAR, 80 pp.
  • Broadley D G 1990. The herpetofaunas of the islands off the coast of south Mocambique. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (35): 469-493
  • Broadley, D. G. 1994. The genus Scelotes Fitzinger (Reptilia: Scincidae) in Mozambique, Swaziland and Natal, South Africa. Annals of the Natal Museum 35: 237-259.
  • Fitzsimons, Vivian Frederick Maynard 1937. Notes on the reptiles and amphibians collected and described from South Africa by Andrew Smith. Annals of the Transvaal Museum 17: 259-274.
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1854. Diagnosen neuer Batrachier, welche zusammen mit der früher (24. Juli und 17. August) gegebenen Übersicht der Schlangen und Eidechsen mitgetheilt werden. Ber. Bekanntmach. Geeignet. Verhandl. Königl.-Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1854: 614-628
  • Smith, A. 1849. Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa. 3 (Reptiles). Smith, Elder, and Co., London [facsimile published by Winchester Press, Johannesburg, 1977] - get paper here
  • Tiedemann,F.; Häupl,M. & Grillitsch,H. 1994. Katalog der Typen der herpetologischen Sammlung nach dem Stand vom 1. Jänner 1994. Teil II: Reptilia. Kat. wiss. Samml. Naturhist. Mus. Wien 10 (Vertebrata 4): 1-110
  • Tornier,G. 1902. Herpetologisch Neues aus Ostafrika. Zool. Anz. 25: 700-704 - get paper here
  • Welch, K.R.G. 1982. Herpetology of Africa; a checklist and bibliography of the orders Amphisbaenia, Sauria, and Serpentes. Robert E. Krieger Pub. Co., Malabar, FL 293 pp.
  • Whiting, A.S.; Aaron M. Bauer and Jack W. Sites, Jr. 2003. Phylogenetic relationships and limb loss in sub-Saharan African scincine lizards (Squamata: Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 29 (3): 582-598 - get paper here
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