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Takydromus sikkimensis GÜNTHER, 1888

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Lacertinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Sikkim Grass Lizard 
SynonymTachydromus sikkimensis GÜNTHER 1888
Takydromus sikkimensis — BHUPATHY et al. 2009
Takydromus sikkimensis — GAUTAM et al. 2022 
DistributionIndia (Sikkim), E Nepal

Type locality: Dalep village, nearby Singtam, South Sikkim,
India, 27°14’N, 88°28’E, 550 m elevation.  
TypesNeotype: ZSI 25761, collected by Basundhara Chettri, 22 October 2006. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Takydromus sikkimensis may be distinguished from Takydromus dorsalis, Takydromus hani, Takydromus intermedius, Takydromus kuehnei, Takydromus sauteri, Takydromus smaragdinus, Takydromus sylvaticus, and Takydromus toyamai (formerly allocated to the subgenus Platyplacopus sensu Arnold, 1997) by having 12 (vs. 6 or 8) rows of enlarged ventral scales across midbody, from Takydromus amurensis, Takydromus wolteri, and Takydromus tachydro moides by having 3 (vs. 4) pairs of chin shields, and from Takydromus hsuehshanensis, Takydromus septentrionalis, Takydromus formosanus, Takydromus luyeanus, Takydromus viridipunctatus, Takydromus stejnegeri, and Takydromus sexlineatus ocellatus by having 3–6 (see Discussion [vs. 1–2]) femoral pores on each side. Among the taxa reported from India, it differs from T. haughtonianus by its lower number of enlarged dorsal plates at midbody (4 vs. 6) and chin shields (3 vs. 4), greater number of supraciliary scales (9–11 vs. 5–6), and presence of a collar and from T. khasiensis by its greater number of rows of granules on the flank between the enlarged dorsal and ventral scales (11–16 vs. 6– 9), longer tail (more than three times SVL vs. approximately twice SVL [data from Boulenger (1917)]), and its life color (dorsum and flanks without obvious markings vs. a light dorsolateral streak from eye to tail base bordered above and below by a black border or series of spots). It may be distinguished from T. s. sexlineatus, with which it has previously been confused, by its greater number of enlarged scales across midbody (12 vs. 10), greater number of rows of granules on the flank between the enlarged dorsal and ventral scales (11–16 vs. 7–10), and by its color in life (dorsum and flanks without obvious markings vs. a green dorsolateral stripe from above eye to tail base edged above and below by a black border with white ocelli with black edges sometimes present on flanks [see photos in Schlu¨ ter, 2003]). It further differs from all three of these species by its greater number of femoral pores (3–6 vs. 1 in T. haughtonianus, 1–2 in T. s. sexlineatus, and 2–3 in T. khasiensis) [from BHUPATHY et al. 2009]. 
CommentTakydromus sikkimensis was named by A. Günther on the basis of an 1872 description of grass lizards from Sikkim by F. Stoliczka. BOULENGER 1887 and subsequent workers have synonymized this species with T. sexlineatus and have even doubted the occurrence of Takydromus in Sikkim. BHUPATHY et al. 2009 confirm the occurrence of grass lizards in the lower Teesta valley of Sikkim and revalidated the species.

Abundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. 
  • Bhupathy, Subramanian; Basundhara Chettri, Aaron M. Bauer 2009. Rediscovery and Revalidation of Takydromus sikkimensis (Günther, 1888) (Squamata: Lacertidae) from Sikkim, India. Journal of Herpetology 43 (2): 267-274 - get paper here
  • Gautam B, Bhattarai S, Kandel RC 2022. First record of Takydromus sikkimensis Günther, 1888 (Squamata, Lacertidae) from Nepal. Herpetozoa 35: 159-163 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1888. On a collection of reptiles from China. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 1: 165-172 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • Schlüter, U. 2003. Die Langschwanzeidechsen der Gattung Takydromus. Kirschner & Seufer Verlag, 110 pp. [review in Draco 21: 91, Elaphe 13 (2): 22] - get paper here
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