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Sphenomorphus minutus (MEYER, 1874)

IUCN Red List - Sphenomorphus minutus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymLygosoma (Hinulia) minuta MEYER 1874: 7
Lygosoma (Hinulia) minuta — SAUVAGE 1879: 53
Lygosoma (Hinulia) minutum — DE ROOIJ 1915: 181
Lygosoma comtum ROUX 1927: 119 (fide SHEA & GREER 1999)
Lygosoma minutum obtusirostrum DE JONG 1927: 312
Lygosoma minutum rotundirostrum DE JONG 1927: 313
Sphenomorphus minutus — BURT & BURT 1932
Lygosoma (Sphenomorphus) minutum — TANNER 1950
Sphenomorphus minutus — MYS 1988: 144
Sphenomorphus minutus — READ 1998 
DistributionIndonesia (Irian Jaya and Yapen; possibly Morotai)

Type locality: “Neu-Guinea”  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: lost; formerly in MTD, Staatl. Mus. für Tierkunde Dresden, Realkatalog 308 (no longer extant; destroyed during World War II fide SHEA & GREER 1999)
Holotype: NMBA = NHMB [comtum] 
DiagnosisDescription: Snout short, obtuse; lower eyelid scaly; ear-opening oval, much smaller than the eye-opening, no lobules. Nostril in the nasal; no supranasals; frontonasal more broad than long, in contact with the rostral and with the frontal; praefrontals very small; frontal shorter than frontoparietals and interparietal together, in contact with the two anterior supraoculars; four supraoculars; seven supraciliaries; frontoparietals and interparietal subequal; parietals in contact; nuchals present, passing gradually into the vertebral scales; fourth and fifth upper labials largest and below the eye. Body moderately long, with 22 smooth scales round the middle, dorsals largest; praeanals a little enlarged. Tail a little longer than head and body. Limbs moderate, just meeting when adpressed; fourth toe with 15 smooth lamellae below (de Rooij 1915: 181)

Coloration: Brown above, with a few small lighter and darker spots; lips with dark bars; a dark brown dorso-lateral streak may be present; sometimes a light transverse blotch on the nape and base of the tail. Lower parts pale brown (de Rooij 1915: 181)

Size: Length of head and body 36 mm.; tail 50 mm (de Rooij 1915: 181)

Original description: “Breites viereckiges Internasale; dreieckiges Frontale, die Basis desselben stösst an das Internasale, die Spitze wird von den Supraoculariis eingeschlossen. Ein grosses rautenförmiges Interparietale gränzt mit seinen 2 rorderen Seiten an die Frontoparietalia, mit seinen 2 hinteren Seiten an die Parietalia. Frenonasale und Frenale liegen ganz seitlich. 21 Körperschuppenreihen. Ein-farbig braun mit wenigen kleinen helleren und dunkleren Flecken. Unterseite hellbraun. Lippen schwarzgestreift.” (Meyer 1874) 
CommentThis species belongs to a new genus to be described, as it nests within the Eugongylini, fide Chapple et al. 2023. 
  • Burt, Charles E.; Burt, May Danheim 1932. Herpetological results of the Whitney South Sea Expedition. VI. Pacific island amphibians and reptiles in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 63 (5): 461-597 - get paper here
  • Chapple, D., Chapple, S., Smith, S., Shea, G., Brennan, I., & Sadlier, R. 2023. Phylogenetic relationships in the Eugongylini (Squamata: Scincidae): generic limits and biogeography. Australian Journal of Zoology 70(6): 165–203 - get paper here
  • Daan, S. & Hillenius,D. 1966. Catalogue of the type specimens of amphibians and reptiles in the Zoological Museum, Amsterdam. Beaufortia 13: 117-144
  • De JONG,J.K. 1927. Reptiles from Dutch New Guinea. Nova Guinea 15 (3): 296-318
  • de Rooij, N. de 1915. The Reptiles of the Indo-Australian Archipelago. I. Lacertilia, Chelonia, Emydosauria. Leiden (E. J. Brill), xiv + 384 pp. - get paper here
  • Kramer, Eugen 1979. Typenkatalog der Echsen im Naturhistorischen Museum Basel (BM), Stand 1978. [type catalogue] Revue Suisse de Zoologie 86 (1): 159-166 - get paper here
  • Loveridge, A. 1948. New Guinean reptiles and amphibians in the Museum of Comparative Zoology and United States National Museum. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 101 (2): 305-430. - get paper here
  • Meyer, A.B. 1874. Eine Mittheilung von Hern. Dr. Adolf Berhard Meyer über die von ihm auf Neu-Guinea und den Inseln Jobi, Mysore und Mafoor im Jahre 1873 gesammelten Amphibien. Monatsber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1874: 128-140 [also published as a separate print with pages 1-17 with a different title in which “Hern. Dr. Adolf Berhard Meyer über die von ihm” is replaced by “mir”] - get paper here
  • Read, John L. 1998. Reptiles and amphibians of the Kau Wildlife Area near Madang: a valuable conservation resource. Science in New Guinea 23 (3): 145-152
  • Roux, Jean 1927. Addition à la faune erpétologique de la Nouvelle-Guinée. Revue Suisse de Zoologie 34: 119-125 - get paper here
  • Sauvage, H. E. 1879. Notice sur quelques reptiles nouveaux ou peu connus de la Nouvelle-Guinee. [Elania annulata]. Bull. Soc. philom. Paris (7) 3: 47-61 - get paper here
  • Shea, Glenn M. and Allen E. Greer. 1999. The identity of two little-known skinks from New Guinea, Sphenomorphus wirzi (Roux, 1919) and Sphenomorphus comtus (Roux, 1927). Journal of Herpetology 33 (3): 507-511 - get paper here
  • Tanner, V.W. 1950. Pacific islands herpetology. No. III, Moroai Island. Great Basin Naturalist 10: 1-30 - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1901. Ueber Reptilien und Batrachier aus Ecuador und Neu-Guinea. Verh. Zool.-bot. Ges. Wien 51: 593-614 - get paper here
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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