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Scelotes bidigittatus FITZSIMONS, 1930

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Lowveld Dwarf Burrowing Skink 
SynonymScelotes bidigittatus FITZSIMONS 1930: 34
Herpetosaura bidigittata — WITTE & LAURENT 1943
Scelotes bidigittata — GREER 1970
Scelotes bidigittatus — BROADLEY 1994
Scelotes bidigittatus — BATES et al. 2014: 270 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (NE Transvaal lowveld, between Soutpansberg and Olifants River), S Mozambique ?, Natal (south to Maputaland)

Type locality: Farm Madrid on Brak River, E. Transvaal  
TypesHolotype: DNMNH (= TM) (= TMSA) 12921 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Broadley 1994: 245

Original description: Snout more or less obtuse, projecting but slightly beyond labial margin; lower eyelid scaly; ear-opening very minute and only just distinguishable; supra-nasals form a median suture, in contact with first labial; fronto-nasal five-sided, much broader than long; frontal much longer than broad, roughly bell-shaped, and just over one and two-thirds as long as fronto-nasal; four supra-oculars, first largest and last by far the smallest, the three anterior in contact with frontal; five supra-ciliaries; interparietal the largest head shield, slightly shorter than frontal but considerably broader, anterior border slightly concave while posterior border is strongly convex; parietals narrow and band-like, in contact with fourth supra-ocular, and meeting in the median line immediately behind the interparietal; adjacent to these band-like parietals are a pair of elongated temporals, not meeting in middle line; fourth upper labial lying just below eye, not quite as long as second and third labial together. Twenty scales round the body. Fore limbs absent; hind limbs present, but small and rudimentary, provided with two minute clawed digits, outer of which is much larger than the inner; tail slightly longer than head and body. (FITZSIMONS 1930)

COLOUR. (Spirit specimen.) Dorsally mummy brown, each scale with a dark centre; a well-defined lateral band runs from snout, through supra oculars continuing down body and tail, avellaneous on head and body, passing to bluish on tail. Ventrally greyish, each scale with a large dark centre arranged symmetrically and giving a longitudinal striped effect, this latter not so apparent on tail. (FITZSIMONS 1930) 
CommentLimb morphology: Belongs to the didactyle S. bidigittatus group. This species lost its forelimb entirely and retains only two digits on the hind limb. 
  • 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.
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Branch,W.R. 1988. Field Guide to the snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 328 pp.
  • 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, V. F. 1930. Descriptions of new South African Reptilia and Batrachia, with distribution records of allied species in the Transvaal Museum collection. Annals Transvaal Mus. 14: 20-48. - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Jacobsen,N.H.G. 1987. A new subspecies of Scelotes limpopoensis FITZSIMONS 1930 (Sauria: Scincidae), with notes on the distribution of the genus Scelotes in the Transvaal. Annals Transvaal Mus. 34: 371-376 - get paper here
  • Witte, G.F. & R. LAURENT 1943. Contribution à la systématique des formes dégradées de la famille des Scincidae apparentées au genre Scelotes Fitzinger. Mém. Mus. r. Hist. nat. Belg. (sér.2) 26: 44 pp.
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