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Stenocercus canastra AVILA-PIRES, NOGUEIRA & MARTINS, 2019

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Higher TaxaTropiduridae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymStenocercus canastra AVILA-PIRES, NOGUEIRA & MARTINS 2019
Stenocercus canatra — AVILA-PIRES et al. 2019: 2 (in error) 
DistributionBrazil (Minas Gerais)

Type locality: Brazil, Minas Gerais: São Roque de Minas municipality, Parque Nacional da Serra da Canastra (PNSC), at the beginning of the road to Casca D’Anta waterfall, 20°14’38” S, 46°32’56” W, ca 1410 m elevation.  
Reproductionoviparous (manual imputation, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: MZUSP 88873 (Fig. 2 in Avila-Pires et al. 2019), an adult male. Paratypes. Four specimens from the type-locality: MZUSP 88874, a half-grown male; MZUSP 88875, a female; MPEG 31738, a male; and MNHN 2014.0061, a male. One juvenile, MZUSP 94456, also from PNSC, Chapadão da Zagaia, 20o09’58”S, 46o41’54” W, ca 1350 m (Fig. 3). 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Stenocercus canastra sp. nov. is characterized by the following combination of features: (1) Dorsal head scales keeled. (2) Interparietal distinct, moderately enlarged; parietals about as large as, or smaller than interparietal; postparietals large, with a prominent keel; other posterior head scales variable in size. (3) Internasals six. (4) No distinctly enlarged supraoculars, but medial ones larger than lateral ones; all with pronounced keels. (5) An enlarged canthal on each side, in contact ante- riorly with two elongate scales that form a double canthal ridge. (6) An enlarged, prominent, pointed scale immediately posterior to supraciliaries; no projecting, blade-like, angulate temporal scales. (7) Gulars and ventrals distinctly keeled. (8) Parietal eye distinct. (9) Neck folds absent. (10) Dorsals phyl- loid, keeled, mucronate, and imbricate; scales on flanks similar to dorsals. (11) A prominent serrate vertebral crest, a slightly less prominent dorsolateral crest, and an even less prominent lateral crest. (12) Mite pockets absent. (13) Scales on posterior surface of thighs imbricate, keeled. (14) Tail nearly cylindrical to moderately compressed, verticils absent. (15) Dorsal coloration with numerous, bold, dark brown rhomboid marks forming a longitudinal series on back, and dark brown vertical bands on flanks; head with at least a dark brown spot between nostrils, and a large, rhomboid spot between eyes; no sexual dimorphism in color pattern. (16) Scales around midbody 39–41, ventrals between anterior margin of forelimbs and anterior margin of hind limbs 25–28. (17) Ear opening bordered anteriorly by a distinctly enlarged, smooth scale. Stenocercus canastra sp. nov. is distinguished from all other Stenocercus except S. dumerilii, S. tricristatus, S. quinarius and S. squarrosus by the presence of an enlarged, prominent post-supraciliary scale (Figs 5–9); from all others except S. tricristatus, S. quinarius and S. squarrosus by a moderately enlarged interparietal (although not as large as in the Tropidurini; Figs 10–11). It is distinguished from S. dumerilii, S. quinarius and S. squarrosus (character states in parentheses) by the presence of a prominent, serrate vertebral crest (in contrast to a low vertebral crest); two, rarely 3, supraciliaries (4, rarely 3); ear-opening bordered anteriorly by a distinctly enlarged scale projecting over tympanum (no enlarged scale projecting over tympanum; Figs 12–17); dorsals distinctly keeled and mucronate (dorsals with a low keel, not or hardly mucronate); 9–10 scales across midbody from one dorsolateral row to the other (11–13 in S. dumerilii, 13–15 in S. quinarius and S. squarrosus); ventrals between anterior level of fore- and hind limbs 24–28 (28–32 in S. dumerilii, 30–34 in S. quinarius, 28–34 in S. squarrosus); scales on chin subequal and imbricate, or only most anterior ones smaller and subimbricate (scales on chin smaller, polygonal, and subimbricate anteriorly, grading into larger, pointed, and imbricate posteriorly; Figs 18–22); tail 1.4–1.8 times SVL (1.2–1.4 times in S. dumerilii, 1.0–1.1 in S. quinarius and 0.8–0.9 in S. squarrosus); and color pattern (Table 1). From S. tricristatus it differs in presenting head width 0.78–0.89 times head length (0.96); 39–41 scales around midbody (33); and ear-opening bordered anteriorly by a distinctly enlarged, smooth scale (scale not larger than adjacent temporal scales, keeled). Moreover, it probably reaches a larger body size (adult males ≥ 70 mm in S. canastra sp. nov. versus 58 mm in the holotype of S. tricristatus). 
CommentHabitat: Stenoc­ercus canastra sp. nov. was only found in open cerrado formation with dense grass vegetation on deep, well-drained soil, between 1350–1410 m. It was not found in areas with rocky quartzitic soil/sandy soil and on rock outcrops, which cover a large portion of the park. The vegetation is characterized by savanna-like ‘cerrado’, grass/shrubland on deep, well-drained soil (‘campo limpo’ and ‘campo sujo’) and on rocky, shallow soils (‘campos rupestres’), and narrow strips of riparian forests. Dietz (1984) gives a general description of the vegetation in the area. Six specimens were on or inside termite mounds – all six found in about one hour, after a fire. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet canastra is a noun in apposition and refers to the mountains (‘Serra da Canastra’) where all specimens were collected. 
  • Avila-Pires TCS, Nogueira CC, Martins M 2019. A new ‘horned' Stenocercus from the highlands of southeastern Brazil, and redescription of Stenocercus tricristatus (Reptilia: Tropiduridae). Zoologia 36: 1-16 - get paper here
  • Kwet, A. 2020. Liste der im Jahr 2019 neubeschriebenen Reptilien. Elaphe 2020 (3): 44-67
  • 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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