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Trachylepis adamastor CERIACO, 2015

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Mabuyinae (Mabuyini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesPortuguese: Lagartixa-adamastor
English: Adamastor Skink 
SynonymTrachylepis adamastor CERIACO 2015
Lygodactylus [sic!] maculilabris — HENRIQUES 1917: 81
Mabuia maculilabris — BOCAGE 1903: 53
Mabuia maculilabris — BOULENGER 1906: 205
Mabuya maculilabris — MANAÇAS 1958: 184
Mabuya maculilabris — MANAÇAS 1973: 223
Mabuya maculilabris — SCHÄTTI & LOUMONG 1992: 29
Mabuya maculilabris — HOFER 2002: 82
Trachylepis cf. maculilabris–Príncipe — CERÍACO 2015: 512
Trachylepis principensis CERÍACO, MARQUES & BAUER 2016 
DistributionRepublic of São Tomé and Príncipe (Tinhosa Grande Islet)

Type locality: "Pedras Tinhosas" (N: -1.34135556, E: - 7.29151389; WGS-84), Republic of São Tomé e Príncipe

principensis: Príncipe Island; Type locality: on a tree near Santo Cristo (N: 1.63822, E : 7.43317; WGS-84), Príncipe Island, Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe  
TypesHolotype: IICT no2-1970, Adult female collected by an unknown collector in 21th March 1970 (Fig. 2). Paratypes. Seven specimens: IICT no1-1970, Adult male collected in the same locality of the holotype, also by an unknown collector in 1970, IICT no1-1971, adult male, IICT no2-1971, adult female, IICT no3-1971, adult female, IICT no4-1971, adult female, IICT no5-1971, adult female, and IICT no6-1971, both from the same locality of the holotype and collected by an unknown collector in 1971.

Holotype: MB = MUHNAC 03-000957, adult male collected by Luis M.P. Ceríaco, Mariana Marques and Pedro Ceríaco on 11 February 2015 (Figs 6). Paratypes. All specimens from the Island of Príncipe, Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe. Twelve specimens: MB03-000909, adult male collected in Roça Pincaté (N: 1.63205, E: 7.39869; WGS-84) by Luis Ceríaco and Mariana Marques on 20 March 2013; MB03-000951 adult female collected in Roça Porto Real (N: 1.624324, E: 7.405327; WGS-84), by Ostelino da Silva on 1 March 2014; MB03-000955, adult female, MB03-000956, collected in the same locality, same date and by the same collectors as the holotype; MB03-000979, adult female collected in Torre de Comunicação Sundy (N: 1.00000, E: 7.37924; WGS-84), by Hélio Vicente on 12 February 2015; CAS 219172, adult female collected south of Roça Sundy (N: 1.66239, E: 7.38550; WGS-84) by R.C. Drewes and R.E. Stoelting on 21 April 2001; CAS 219188, adult male, CAS 219189, adult female, CAS 219190, adult female, all collected in Nova Estrela (N: 1.62050, E: 7.43036; WGS-84) by R.C. Drewes and R.E. Stoelting on 21 April 2001; CAS 219358, adult male, CAS 219361, adult female, both collected in Praia Abade (N: 1.63075, E: 7.45600; WGS-84) by R. E. Stoelting on 16 May 2001; CAS 238898, adult female collected at Bom Bom resort (N: 1.69817, E: 7.40267; WGS-84) by K. Monson on 3 May 2008 [principensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A large and robust species of Trachylepis identified to the genus by the following combination of characters: four-limbed lizard, body covered with relatively large scales, dorsal and ventral scales polished, dorsal and ventral scales not highly differentiated (i.e. no great variation in size or structure), nostril well separated from the rostral shield, eyelids fully moveable and capable of closing the eye, lower eyelid with a large transparent disc, dorsal scales keeled, limbs pentadactyl and well developed, femoral pores absent. The new species can be easily distinguished from all other Trachylepis species by the following combination of characters: (1) large and robust body size, up to at least 112.0 mm SVL; (2) color pattern consisting of dark-brown dorsal coloration, with subtle black and white speckles, venter grayish; (3) MSR 31–34, SAD 49–54, SAV 63–66; (4) KDS 5 or 6; (5) scales on sole of feet and hands smooth; (6) one pretemporal scale; (7) very small ear opening.

Diagnosis (principensis). An elegant medium-sized skink (SVL 58.5–88.3 mm), tail length usually twice SVL (TL/ SVL169.3–230.9%, mean 202.2%). Moveable eyelids with a yellow border clearly contrasting with the brown facial colouration, the lower eyelid with a translucent palpebral disk. Supraciliaries usually 5, sometimes 6; four labials anterior to subocular; rectangularly-enlarged subocular, in contact with the lip and not reduced basally by the intrusion of adjacent supralabials; snout slender and acuminate; infralabials bluish and supralabials bluish at the base but brown at the top; mental pale blue. Supranasals usually in broad contact, or in contact at a point. Parietals always in contact. No distinct longitudinal or transverse dorsal bands. Back uniformly brownish, sometimes with a few scattered dark speckles and a dorsolateral line composed of white spots starting in the temporal area and extending to mid-body, and belly light blue in alcohol, and bluish to green in live specimens. Midbody scale rows 31–33, paravertebral scales 47–51, with 5–6 keels on vertebral and dorsal scales, paraventral scales 57–63. Lamellae beneath fourth finger 16–18, beneath fourth toe 21–22 (CERÍACO et al. 2016).

Comparison with other Gulf of Guinea oceanic island species (principensis). Table 2 summarises the most important distinguishing characteristics between T. principensis and all other Gulf of Guinea oceanic island Trachylepis. Comparing T. principensis with T. maculilabris from West Africa, the new species has a larger SVL, lower number of scales from the nuchals to the base of the tail, a greater distance from front of the eye to tip of snout, larger relative tail length, higher numbers of lamellae under the fourth toe and fourth finger (Table 2), and absence of lateral stripes, lightly colored lines starting at the eye and reaching the forelimbs and of dorsal speckles as is usual in T. maculilabris. In terms of colouration, T. principensis lacks a yellow or white ear (usual in T. maculilabris), has greenish-yellow venter (pale yellow in T. maculilabris), and highly contrasting, vivid yellow eyelids. Comparing T. principensis with T. thomensis, the Príncipe species has a smaller SVL, greater tail length, slender and more acute tail, with a slender and shorter head, a smaller interparietal, a smaller internarial distance, a smaller distance from the front of the eye to the parietals, a smaller distance from the front of the eye to the tip of the snout, and a more acuminate head, and lower numbers of dorsal scales between the nuchals and the base of the tail (Table 2). In terms of colouration, T. principensis has a uniformly dark brown dorsum with contrasting yellow eyelids and bluish- green venter, whereas T. thomensis typically has a brown dorsum with black and white speckles and a yellow venter, orange-brown colouration speckled with white and black dots on the back, and black and white blotches under the eye and on supralabials.
Comparing T. principensis with T. adamastor, the new species has a considerably smaller SVL, higher TL/SVL ratio, lower numbers of SAV, and higher number of LUFT (Table 2), two pre-temporals (one in T. adamastor), prefrontal scales separated or in narrow contact (in contact forming a suture in T. adamastor), and the very dark- brown and white-speckled dorsum and greyish ventrum of T. adamastor contrasts with the uniformly brown dorsum and greenish ventrum of T. principensis.
Trachylepis principensis is easily distinguished from the sympatric T. affinis by several morphological characters, but primarily by the absence of any dorsolateral stripes, larger size, very acuminate snout, and distinctive yellow eyelid. Trachylepis principensis has greater SVL, less bulky head, higher numbers of scales around the midbody, and greater numbers of keels on the dorsal scales (Table 2). Colouration is strikingly contrasting, whereas T. principensis has homogenous colouration (dark brown above, greenish-yellow below, no pattern) and T. affinis has a distinctive longitudinal band on the lateral sides of the body. Comparing T. principensis with T. ozorii, the newly described species has lower numbers of supraciliaries, higher numbers of keels on dorsal scales, lower numbers of scales around the midbody, and lower numbers of paravertebral scales (Table 2). The dorsal colouration is also different, with T. principensis having a uniformly dark brown dorsum, while T. ozorii has a dark brownish dorsum covered with black speckles (CERÍACO et al. 2016). 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017).

Synonymy: Trachylepis principensis CERÍACO et al. 2016 was synonymized with T. adamastor by CERÍACO et al. 2020. 
EtymologyThe specific epithet 'adamastor' refers to the mythical giant inhabiting a rock "in the end of the sea" present in the Luis de Camões famous odyssey 'Os Lusíadas', and is applied here as a substantive in apposition.

The specific epithet 'principensis' refers to the Island of Príncipe of the Republic of São Tomé & Príncipe, to which it is endemic, and is applied here as a substantive. We propose the English name of "Príncipe Skink" and the Portuguese name "Lagartixa do Príncipe". 
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  • Ceriaco, Luis M. P. 2015. Lost in the middle of the sea, found in the back of the shelf: A new giant species of Trachylepis (Squamata: Scincidae) from Tinhosa Grande islet, Gulf of Guinea. Zootaxa 3973 (3): 511–527 - get paper here
  • CERÍACO, LUIS M. P.; MARIANA P. MARQUES, AARON M. BAUER 2016. A review of the genus Trachylepis (Sauria: Scincidae) from the Gulf of Guinea, with descriptions of two new species in the Trachylepis maculilabris (Gray, 1845) species complex. Zootaxa 4109 (3): 284–314 - get paper here
  • Ceríaco, Luis MP; Justin Bernstein , Ana C Sousa , Mariana P Marques , Aaron M Bauer & Sietze J Norder 2020. The reptiles of Tinhosa Grande islet (Gulf of Guinea): A taxonomic update and the role of Quaternary sea level fluctuations in their diversification,. African Journal of Herpetology, 69:2, 200-216
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  • SOUSA, ANA CAROLINA A.; MARIANA PIMENTEL MARQUES & LUIS M.P. CERÍACO. 2022. Population size and diet of the Adamastor skink, Trachylepis adamastor Ceríaco, 2015 (Squamata: Scincidae), on Tinhosa Grande Islet, São Tomé and Príncipe, Gulf of Guinea. Herpetology Notes 15: 553–557. - get paper here
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