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Smaug giganteus (SMITH, 1844)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common NamesGiant Girdled Lizard or Sungazer 
SynonymCordylus giganteus SMITH 1844: 35
Zonurus derbianus GRAY 1845
Zonurus giganteus — BOULENGER 1885: 253
Cordylus giganteus — ABRAHAM 1981
Cordylus giganteus — BONETTI 2002
Smaug giganteus — STANLEY et al. 2011 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (small scatterd populations in NE OFS, extreme W Natal and SE Transvaal)

Type locality: “Interior districts of South Africa on pinnacles of Quathlamba Mountains”.  
ReproductionOvoviviparous. 
TypesHolotype: BMNH 
CommentLargest species of the genus Cordylus with a total length up to 40 cm.

Type species: Cordylus giganteus SMITH 1844 is the type species of the genus Smaug STANLEY et al. 2011.

Definition: Body subcylindrical in cross-section, large to very large (maximum SVL 112–205 mm), robust. Limbs of moderate length, digits unreduced. Dorsal and caudal scales enlarged and spinose; occipital spines greatly enlarged. Nasal scales not in con- tact with one another. Frontonasal scale in broad contact with the rostral scale. Tongue partly or fully pigmented. Osteoderms distrib- uted across entire body. Viviparous, giving birth to 1–6 young. 
EtymologyEtymology (genus): Smaug is the name of the dragon encountered by Bilbo Baggins, the protagonist of J.R.R. Tolkien’s book The Hobbit. According to Tolkien the name is derived from the Old German verb smeugen – to squeeze through a hole. Like the type species, Smaug lived underground and was heavily armored. Appropriately Tolkien was born in the Free State province, South Africa, the core area of distribution of the type species. The name is masculine. 
References
  • Abraham, Gerhard 1981. Das Portrait: Cordylus giganteus - Riesengürtelschweif (A. Smith, 1844). Sauria 3 (1): 1-2. - get paper here
  • Adolphs, Klaus & Tröger, Michael 1987. Lebensweise, Haltung und Zuchtproblematik des Riesengürtelschweifs Cordylus giganteus A. Smith, 1844. Herpetofauna 9 (46): 28-33. - get paper here
  • ARMSTRONG, A.J. 2011. Status of the Sungazer Smaug giganteus in KwaZulu-Natal Province, South Africa. African Herp News (54): 1-4
  • Bonetti, Mathilde 2002. 100 Sauri. Mondadori (Milano), 192 pp.
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broom 1913. An adult female of the large S. African Lizard, Zonurus giganteus, ... Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1913: 548 - get paper here
  • Fitzsimons, Vivian Frederick Maynard 1965. The Giant Girdled Lizard or Sungazer (Cordylus giganteus A. Smith). Fauna & Flora (Pretoria), 1965: 29-32.
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Groenewald, G. H. 1992. The Relocation of Cordylus giganteus in the Oranje Free State, South Africa: Pitfalls and possible Preventions Therof. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (40): 72-77 - get paper here
  • Jacobsen, N.H.G.; Newbery, R.E.; Petersen, W. 1989. On the ecology and conservation status of Cordylus giganteus in the Transvaal. South African J Zoology 25 (1): 61-66
  • Koch-Isenburg, L. 1977. Der Riesengürtelschweif Cordylus giganteus A. Smith aus Südafrika. Bericht Naturw. Ver. Darmstadt, (Vivarium Darmstadt Inf.), N.F., 1977: 4-5.
  • Lambiris, A.J.L. 1987. Geographical Distribution - Cordylus giganteus. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa (33): 29-29 - get paper here
  • Langerwerf, B. 2001. Keeping and breeding the sungazer (Cordylus giganteus). Reptiles, California, 9 (6): 58 - 65
  • Marais, Johan 1984. Notes on the giant girdled lizard Cordylus giganteus A. Smith. British Herpetological Society Bulletin (10): 30-33.
  • McLachlan, Geoff R. 1986. Geographical Distribution. Reptilia: Sauria: Cordylidae: Cordylus giganteus, A. Smith. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 32: 30. - get paper here
  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324.
  • Parusnath, S & Nielsen, S. 2011. Smaug giganteus Smith 1844 Giant Girdled Lizard or Sungazer. African Herp News (55): 25-26
  • Parusnath, S. 2012. Smaug giganteus (A. Smith, 1844) Sungazer. Predation. African Herp News (58): 13-14
  • Paulduro, E. & U. Krabbe-Paulduro 1987. Anmerkungen zur Lebensweise, Haltung und Zuchtproblematik des Riesengürtelschweifs, Cordylus giganteus A.SMITH, 1844. Sauria 9 (4): 9-17 - get paper here
  • Petersen, Wally;Newbery, Richard;Jacobsen, Niels 1985. Cordylus giganteus is alive and well and living at Rietpoort. Fauna & Flora (South Africa) (42): 26-29
  • Petzold, Hans-Günter 1974. Cordylus giganteus, A. Smith, 1844, Riesengürtelschweif (Familie: Cordylidae, Gürtel- und Schildechsen). Aquarien und Terrarien (Leipzig), 21 (5): 170-171.
  • Schmidt, P. 1924. Jugendform des Riesengürtelschweifs Zonurus giganteus Smith. Blätter für Aquarien und Terrarienkunde (Stuttgart), 35: 336-337.
  • Schwier, H. 2007. The Giant Girdled Lizard – Cordylus giganteus. Reptilia (GB) (52): - get paper here
  • Schwier, H. 2007. Der Riesengürtelschweif Cordylus giganteus - einzigartig und mysteriös zugleich. Reptilia (Münster) 12 (65): 40-44 - get paper here
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  • Smith,A. 1844. Illustrations of the zoology of South Africa, Reptilia. Smith, Elder, and Co., London - get paper here
  • Stanley, Edward L.; Aaron M. Bauer; Todd R. Jackman, William R. Branch, P. Le Fras N. Mouton 2011. Between a rock and a hard polytomy: rapid radiation in the rupicolous girdled lizard (Squamata: Cordylidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 58(1): 53-70. - get paper here
  • Switak, Karl H. 1981. Der Riesengürtelschweif oder Südafrikanische Sonnengucker, Cordylus giganteus. Das Aquarium, 15 (136): 537-541.
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  • VAN WYK, J. H. 1994. Physiological changes during the female reproductive cycle of the vivparous lizard Cordylus giganteus (Sauria: Cordylidae). Herpetologica 50 (4): 480 - 493 - get paper here
  • VAN WYK, J. H. 1995. The male reproduction cycle of the lizard, Cordylus giganteus. Journal of Herpetology 29 (4): 522-535 - get paper here
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  • Werning, H. 2015. Die Rückkehr der Urzeitechsen Reptilia (Münster) 20 (114): 16-25 - get paper here
 
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