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Scelotes caffer (PETERS, 1861)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cape Dwarf Burrowing Skink, Peters'Burrowing Skink 
SynonymSepomorphus caffer PETERS 1861: 422
Scelotes caffer — BAUER et al. 1995: 66
Scelotes caffer — WHITING et al. 2003
Scelotes caffer — BATES et al. 2014: 272
Scelotes caffer — TELFORD et al 2022 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (scattered populations in E Cape, at Matjiesfontein, at Elands Bay, and in Little Namaqualand at Garies)

Type locality: “Africa australis, Caffraria” [Eastern Cape Province, South Africa].  
TypesHolotype: ZMB 3899 
CommentLimb morphology: Reduced limbs. 
EtymologyApparently named after British Kaffraria, the name given to the area between the Kei and Keiskamma rivers in the latter half of the 19th century (Raw 2022). However, it is more likely that “caffra” is derived from a derogatory term for black Africans that has been considered extremely offensive since the mid-20th century and is now illegal to use in South Africa. The epithet caffra is arguably a derivative of the ethnic slur, which itself is derived from the Arabic kaffir, meaning infidel (Pethiyagoda 2023). 
  • 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.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig 1861. Eine neue Gattung von Eidechsen aus der Familie der Scincoides, Sepomorphus caffer. Monatsber. königl. Akad. Wiss. Berlin. 1861 (April): 422-423 - get paper here
  • Pethiyagoda, R. 2023. Policing the scientific lexicon: The new colonialism? Megataxa 010 (1): 020–025 - get paper here
  • REBELO, A .D.; Z. ZHAO, A. JORDAAN, P. R. JORDAAN & W.<br />CONRADIE 2018. Scelotes caffer. Peters, 1961. African Herp News (68): 53-56 - get paper here
  • Telford, N. S., ALEXANDER, G. J., BECKER, F. S., CONRADIE, W., JORDAAN, A., KEMP, L., ... & TOLLEY, K. A. 2022. EXTENSIONS TO THE KNOWN GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTIONS OF REPTILES IN THE GREAT KAROO, SOUTH AFRICA. Herpetological Conservation and Biology, 17(1), 145-154 - get paper here
  • 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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