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Sphenomorphus phuquocensis GRISMER, NAZAROV, BOBROV & POYARKOV, 2020

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Phu Quoc Island Forest Skink
Vietnamese: Thằn lằn phê-nô Phú Quốc 
SynonymSphenomorphus phuquocensis GRISMER, NAZAROV, BOBROV & POYARKOV 2020 
DistributionVietnam (Kien Giang)

Type locality: mid-elevation montane tropical forest in Phu Quoc National Park, ca. 4 km southwards from Bãi Thõm village, on the border of Bãi Thõm and Cửa Dýõng communes, Phu Ouoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam (GPS coordinates N 10.367°, E 104.017° (GCS), at 390 m in elevation)  
TypesHolotype. ZMMU R-11518, Adult male, collected in a pitfall trap by Vladimir V. Bobrov on December 20, 2003. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Sphenomorphus phuquocensis sp. nov. can be separated from all other species of Sphenomorphus by having the unique combination of a maximum adult SVL of 60.8 mm; head, body, and supracaudal scales smooth; frontal scale not divided; prefrontals not in contact; parietals in contact posterior to interparietal; parietals not divided; six scales bordering the parietals; four nuchals; four supraoculars; two loreals; anterior loreal not di- vided; loreals in contact with supralabials; relatively deep, postnasal groove; nine superciliaries; superciliary row not interrupted by fourth supraocular; lower eyelid scales large; seven supralabials; seven infralabials; three pairs of chinshields; one primary temporal scale; two sencondary temporals; upper secondary temporal large; no sub- temporals; 23 midbody scale rows; 56 paravertebrals; paravertebrals slightly wider than other dorsals; 61 ventrals; two enlarged precloacals; 11 scales around tail at level of tenth subcaudal; anterior subcaudals divided; subcaudals enlarged; 18 or 19 subdigital lamellae on fourth toe; 14 subdigital lamellae on fourth finger; no wide, dark, vertebral or lateral stripes or blotches; dark blotches on top of head confined to posterior margin of head scales; no dark trans- verse subcaudal bars on original tail; no thin, dark, dorsal caudal bands; and labial margins edged with black. Note these characters are based on a single specimen. The acquisition of additional material may render some of these characters not truly diagnostic and other characters not listed here as diagnostic (Table 3).

Comparisons (Figs. 5, 6; Tables 3, 4). Comparisons of the new species with other members of S. stellatus group are the most pertinent. Sphenomorphs phuquocensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all other members of the S. stellatus group by having a deep postnasal groove as opposed to lacking a groove. It can be further differentiated from its sister species S. preylangensis by having the seventh supralabial being the largest as opposed to the fifth or the sixth; 61 versus 63–71 ventral scales; and no dark-colored, transverse, subcaudal bars or narrow, dark-colored dorsal caudal bands. Sphenomorphs phuquocensis sp. nov. is distinguished from S. annamiticus by lacking dark vertebral and lateral stripes and it can be distinguished from S. praesignis by lacking large, dark-colored anterolat- eral spots on the flanks and a black tail. From S. stellatus it differs by having 56 as opposed to 62–64 paravertebral scales, 61 versus 64–68 ventral scales, having dark-colored blotches on the head as opposed to dark-colored speck- ling, and the labial sutures being edged in black versus no black edging. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “phuquocensis” is a Latinized toponymic adjective given in reference to the type locality of the new species – Phu Quoc Island, Kien Giang Province, Vietnam. 
  • GRISMER, L. LEE; ROMAN A. NAZAROV, VLADIMIR V. BOBROV & NIKOLAY A. POYARKOV 2020. A new species of Sphenomorphus (Squamata: Scincidae) from Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam with a discussion of biogeography and character state evolution in the S. stellatus group. Zootaxa 4801 (3): 461–487 - get paper here
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