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Stenocercus catherineae »

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Higher TaxaTropiduridae, Iguania, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
DistributionPeru (Amazonas)

Type locality: Amazonas Department, Bongará Province, Florida District, Huembo; 5°51.47’S, 77°58.75’W; 2090 m a.s.l.  
TypesHolotype: CORBIDI 21365, adult male; 09 Dec. 2019; P.J. Venegas and L.A. García-Ayachi leg.; paratypes: CORBIDI 
DiagnosisComparisons: For a comparison of scutellation across S. aculeatus, S. angulifer, S. catherineae, S. dracopennatus, S. huancabambae, and S. philmayi see Venegas et al. 2020.

Diagnosis. Stenocercus catherineae sp. nov. differs from other species of Stenocercus except for S. aculeatus, S. angulifer Werner, 1901, S. huancabambae Cadle, 1991, S. philmayi sp. nov., S. prionotus Cadle, 2001, and S. scapularis Boulenger, 1901 by having: (1) projecting-angulate temporals, (2) laterally oriented nostrils; (3) dorsal and lateral scales of body similar in size, and (3) scales on posterior surface of thighs keeled and imbricate.
Stenocercus aculeatus, S. angulifer, S. prionotus, and S. scapularis can be easily distinguished from S. catherineae sp. nov. by having strongly keeled ventrals, whereas in the new species ventrals are feebly to moderately keeled. Stenocercus aculeatus, S. angulifer and S. scapularis also have a dorsolateral crest (absent in S. catherineae sp. nov.); and S. prionotus lacks a postfemoral mite pocket (present in S. catherineae sp. nov.). Stenocercus catherineae sp. nov. differs from S. philmayi sp. nov. by having smaller dorsal scales with 43 to 53 vertebrals and 46 to 59 scales around midbody versus 32 to 38 vertebrals and 34 to 45 scales around midbody in S. philmayi sp. nov. The gular region in adult males of S. catherineae sp. nov. is black, whereas in S. philmayi sp. nov. it is cream.
The new species is most similar to S. huancabambae (Fig. 4A, B) with which it shares ventral scales strongly keeled, like the rest of the aforementioned species, and a strongly compressed tail. Furthermore, both species are geographically close at the northern extreme of the central Andes in the Department of Amazonas (Cadle 1991; Torres-Carvajal 2007b). Nevertheless, the new species can be distinguished from S. huancabambae (characters in parentheses) by having the parietal eye not visible through the interparietal cornea (visible); postfemoral mite pocket as a distinct, deep slit-like opening (shallow slit-like opening, Fig. 3); dark patch covering most of the gular region of adult males present (absent); black patch on ventral surface of neck absent (present as a circular or elongate blotch, Fig. 4B); and a strongly compressed tail in adult males (very strongly compressed tail as a tapelike along its proximal two thirds).
At the locality of Cuispes, and probably also in Huembo, S. catherineae sp. nov. and S. flagracanthus sp. nov. exist in sympatry; however, both species are strikingly different. S. flagracanthus sp. nov. has a relatively short tail armed with projecting spines, whereas S. catherineae sp. nov. has a long tail, compressed laterally, and a projecting vertebral crest.
Definition. (1) Maximum SVL in males 83 mm (n = 3); (2) SVL in females 75 mm (n = 2); (3) vertebrals 43–53; (4) paravertebrals 62–73; (5) scales around midbody 46–59; (6) supraoculars 4; (7) internasals 4–6; (8) postrostrals 2–4; (9) loreals 5–6; (10) gulars 22–26; (11) subdigitals on Finger IV 18–21; (12) subdigitals on Toe IV 25–30; (13) posthumeral mite pocket present as a deep depression with a wide opening [Type 3 of Torres-Carvajal (2007b)]; (14) postfemoral mite pocket present as a distinct pocket with a posteroventrally oriented slit-like opening [Type 2 of Torres-Carvajal (2007b)]; (15) parietal eye not visible through interparietal cornea in any specimens (n = 6); (16) scales on occipitoparietal region large, multicarinate, not imbricate; (17) projecting angulate temporals present; (18) row of enlarged supraoculars present, occupying most of supraocular region; (19) scales on frontonasal region and supraoculars slightly imbricate, multicarinate; (20) preauricular fringe present, short; (21) neck folds absent; (22) lateral and dorsal nuchals similar
in size; (23) posterior gulars rhomboidal, projected posteriorly, keeled and imbricate, not notched; (24) lateral and dorsal body scales similar in size; (25) vertebrals larger than adjacent paravertebrals, forming a distinct vertebral crest; (26) dorsolateral crest absent; (27) ventrals keeled, imbricate, mucronate; (28) scales on posterior surfaces of thighs keeled, imbricate, mucronate; (29) inguinal granular pocket absent; (30) inguinal groove absent; (31) preanals not projecting; (32) tail strongly compressed laterally in adult males; (33) tail length 65–70% of total length; (34) caudal whorls per autotomic segment three; (35) caudals not spinose; (36) dark brown stripe extending anterodorsally from subocular region to supraciliaries always present; (37) dark patch extensively covering gular region of females present; (38) dark patch covering gular region in adult males present; (39) black patch on ventral surface of neck in adult males absent; (40) dark midventral longitudinal mark such as faint line, conspicuous stripe, or extensive patch in adult males absent; (41) dark patches on ventral surface of thighs in adult males absent; (42) two xiphisternal and three postxiphisternal pairs of inscriptional ribs fused medially, forming three chevrons (Pattern 6A of Torres-Carvajal 2004). (Venegas et al. 2020)

Coloration in life (Fig. 2A, B). Dorsum pale brown with the first two chevrons over the vertebral line black and the rest slightly darker than the background; cream line extending vertically from the arm insertion to the scapular region surrounded by a black blotch; dorsal surface of limbs darker than the dorsum with faint dirty cream transverse bars; flanks reddish brown, including the tail, becoming red toward the venter and dotted with white; subocular and loreal regions creamy white; dorsal surface of head black with the superciliaries and rostral cream; labials, sublabials and mental black, extending as an irregular longitudinal stripe to the neck; gular region black with cream irregular blotches to the sides; a black irregular stripe extends from the gular region ventrolaterally to the arm insertion; ventral surface of neck, chest and forelimbs are dirty cream with a black spot ventrolaterally in the arm; belly and ventral surface of tail pink; pelvic region and ventral surface of hindlimbs dirty cream. The iris is reddish brown. (Venegas et al. 2020)

Intraspecific variation. Measurement and scutellation characters of Stenocercus catherineae sp. nov. are presented in Table 1. The second infralabial is in contact with the third sublabial in all specimens, and the first pair of postmentals are not in contact medially in two specimens (CORBIDI 501 and 21367). The three male paratypes are identical to the holotype, including a juvenile (CORBIDI 18662), varying only by having few scattered white dots on the head and, the black patch on the gular region extends to the ventral surface of the neck as a bold band (CORBIDI 21366) (Fig. 2C, D). Ventral scales in the juvenile male are strongly keeled and mucronate.
Sexual dimorphism is evident in adult individuals. In two adult female paratypes (Fig. 2E, H) dorsal coloration is dusty brown with cinnamon vertebral chevrons along the back and tail, and cinnamon blotches along the flanks; hindlimbs with scattered dark brown transverse stripes; head in both specimens are darker than the rest of body, being dark gray (CORBIDI 501) or dark brown (CORBIDI 21367); sides of head grayish white (CORBIDI 21367) or dark gray (CORBIDI 501) with the loreal and subocular region white, and labials brown. Ventral coloration is pale brown with the gular region dark brown (CORBIDI 21367) or dusty cream with the gular region dark gray (CORBIDI 501) but both specimens have a faint pink hue on belly and base of tail (Fig. 2F, H). (Venegas et al. 2020) 
EtymologyNamed after Catherine Dupont, a Peruvian veterinary specialist in One Health, who is actively working searching and monitoring viruses and other zoonotic pathogens. The specific name of this lizard is in recognition of her passion for the natural world and its creatures, and her selfless support of the herpetological division of CORBIDI. 
  • Venegas PJ, García-Ayachi LA, Chávez-Arribasplata JC, Chávez G, Wong I, García-Bravo A 2020. Four new species of Stenocercus Duméril & Bibron, 1837 (Squamata, Iguania) from the Department of Amazonas in northeastern Peru. Evolutionary Systematics 4(2): 79-108 - get paper here
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