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Takydromus viridipunctatus LUE & LIN, 2008

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards) 
Common Names 
SynonymTakydromus viridipunctatus LUE & LIN 2008
Takydromus formosanus — ARNOLD 1997 (part.)
Takydromus viridipunctatus — SHANER et al. 2013 
DistributionC Taiwan

Type locality: Su-ao, Yilan County, Taiwan (24° 35’ 23.4” N, 121° 51’ 37.5” E), elevation 10 m.  
TypesHolotype: NMNS 4431, an adult male. Captured when perching on high grasslands (Miscanthus sinensis) near the coastline. Collected at night on 21 June 2003 by Yu-Jun Hong, How-Ying Hsu, Yi-Fen Chen, and Si-Min Lin. Deposited in Natural Museum of Natural Science, Taichung, Taiwan. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis.—Number of chin shields and femoral pores are commonly applied as the most important characters distinguishing among the Takydromus species in Taiwan and adjacent regions. Only 4 among the 19 currently recognized species in this genus exhibit ‘‘3 pairs of chin shields’’ and ‘‘2 pairs of femoral pores’’: T. hsuehshanensis, T. formosanus, T. viridi- punctatus, and T. luyeanus (Table 3 in LUE & LIN 2008). Conjunction of these two characters helps to separate these four species from the others. Takydromus viridipunctatus can be distin- guished from T. hsuehshanensis by its keeled ventrals. Takydromus hsuehshanensis is the only one among the four that has smooth ventrals. Takydromus hsuehshanensis has a comparatively robust body shape, stronger limbs and toes, a shorter tail without curling ability, and poor ability to climb on vegetation (Huang, 1998; and K.-Y. Lue and S.-M. Lin, personal observation).

Takydromus viridipunctatus can be distinguished from T. formosanus by fewer caudal scale rows at the position of the 11th to 15th scales (14 versus 16 rows), fewer supratem- porals (2 or 3 versus >4), fewer subdigital lamellae in the fingers and toes, and a larger and more robust body shape (see Table 1). About 70% of mature T. viridipunctatus reached an SVL of over 50 mm (mean +/- SD = 51.32 +/- 3.14 mm), but no T. formosanus reached this size (42.80 +/- 4.55 mm). In addition, adults of T. viridipunctatus exhibit noticeable sexual dimorphism (Fig. 6).
Males of T. viridipunctatus exhibit shiny light-green spots along the lateral surface during breeding seasons, sometimes covering the entire lateral surface of the trunk. In contrast, coloration of T. formosanus is brown year round, with no sexual dichromatism (Fig. 6).
Takydromus viridipunctatus can be distinguished from T. luyeanus by having more dorsal scales counted in longitudinal direction (45.58 +/- 2.23 versus 40.62 +/- 1.56). Mature males of T. viridipunctatus exhibit light-green spots with a light-brown background, whereas T. luyeanus has a black lateral background decorated with white or light-yellow spots. Adults of T. viridipunctatus usually have a slightly larger body size (SVL 5 51.32 6 3.14 mm versus 48.86 6 2.74 mm).
Takydromus viridipunctatus is sometimes found sympatrically distributed with T. stejnegeri and T. kuehnei in northern Taiwan. It can be distinguished from T. stejnegeri by a difference in number of femoral pores in each side (2 versus 1). It can be distinguished from T. kuehnei by fewer femoral pores (2 versus 3– 5 pairs) and fewer chin shields (3 versus 4 pairs) [LUE & LIN 2008].
CommentSimilar species: This species has been previously confused with Takydromus formosanus. In contrast to T. formosanus T. viridipunctatus and T. luyeanus exhibit prominent sexual dichromatism, have males and females with similar body sizes but differ in their head lengths and HL/SVL ratios.

Similar species: Takyxdromus viridipunctatus and T. luyeanus were
misidentified as T. formosanus in previous decades (Lue & Lin 2008). 
EtymologyEtymology.—This specific name refers to the ‘‘green spotted’’ (viridi + punctatus) 
  • Lue, Kuang-Yang and Si-Min Lin 2008. Two New Cryptic Species of Takydromus (Squamata: Lacertidae) from Taiwan. Herpetologica 64 (3): 379-395 - get paper here
  • Shaner P-JL, Chen Y-R, Lin J-W, Kolbe JJ, Lin S-M 2013. Sex-Specific Correlations of Individual Heterozygosity,Parasite Load, and Scalation Asymmetry in a SexuallyDichromatic Lizard. PLoS One 8 (2): e56720. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0056720 - get paper here
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