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Tribolonotus choiseulensis RITTMEYER & AUSTIN, 2017

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Egerniinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymTribolonotus choiseulensis RITTMEYER & AUSTIN 2017 
DistributionSolomon Archipelago (Choiseul Island)

Type locality: Taro Island, Choiseul Bay, near Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.7100°S, 156.3964°E, WGS84  
Reproductionviviparous 
TypesHolotype: AMS R127275, collected by G. Mengden, 20 November 1987. Paratypes. AMS R126006–9, collected by Mike McCoy, Sumbisumbi, Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.6469°S, 156.388°E, WGS84, 23 February 1987; AMS R127269-R127271, collected by G. Mengden, Taro Island, Choiseul Bay, near Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.7100°S, 156.3964°E, WGS84, 19 November 1987; AMS R127272–4, R127276–80, collected by G. Mengden, Taro Island, Choiseul Bay, near Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.7100°S, 156.3964°E, WGS84, 20 November 1987; BPBM 12771–2, collected by Mike McCoy, Poroporo, Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.655°S, 156.399°E, WGS84, 21 February 1987; BPBM 12807–12, collected by Mike McCoy, Sumbisumbi, Choiseul Island, Choiseul Province, Solomon Islands, 6.6469°S, 156.388°E, WGS84, 23 February 1987. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A small (maximum SVL 47.8 mm) Tribolonotus diagnosable from congeners by the following combination of characters: 1) two longitudinal rows of 22–23 enlarged vertebral scales, beginning at the posterior nuchal region; 2) 42–47 ventral scale rows from mental to vent; 3) two primary temporal scales; 4) an elongate first supralabial scale, and no contact between the nasal and second supralabial scales; 5) 11–13 finger III lamellae, 20– 24 toe IV lamellae; and 6) limbs moderate in length (ForeL/SVL = 0.294–0.341; HindL/SVL = 0.498–0.532). Lateral and dorsolateral scales granular, but several longitudinal rows of spinose scales, approximately one for every enlarged vertebral scale. Tail relatively long, up to approximately 180% of SVL. Head rugose, with up to five strong keels per scale; triangular from dorsal aspect and distinct from neck. Head width variable (HW/SVL = 0.164–0.218), but broader and larger in males than females (Male HW/SVL = 0.186–0.218, mean = 0.197 versus 0.164–0.187, mean = 0.178 in females; male HL/SVL = 0.261–0.300, mean = 0.276 versus 0.242–0.273, mean = 0.257 in females; Table 2, Fig. 2). Two primary temporal scales, five supralabial scales, and five or six infralabial scales. A single palmar pore occasionally present at the base of finger IV. Plantar pores variably present; when present, in rows of up to six at the base of toe IV, extending back towards the insertion of toe V, and two at the base of toe III, paralleling the other row. One pair of abdominal glands present at the posterior of the abdomen, slightly anterior to the insertion of the hind limbs. Dorsal color brown with several pairs of indistinct, pale, yellowish tan paravertebral spots. Ventral coloration pale yellowish tan.

Comparisons. Tribolonotus choiseulensis sp. nov. can be distinguished from all congeners except T. parkeri sp. nov. and T. pseudoponceleti by the same characters described above for T. parkeri sp. nov.. Specifically, the combination of 1) small body size (maximum SVL = 47.8 mm), 2) two longitudinal rows of 22–23 enlarged vertebral scales, commencing at the posterior of the nape and separated from the parietal plates by granular scales, 3) elongate first supralabial scale with no suture between the second supralabial scale and the nasal, 4) two primary temporal scales, 5) 20–24 toe IV lamellae, 6) 11–13 finger III lamellae, and 7) numerous enlarged, spinose scales laterally, with approximately one enlarged scale for every enlarged mid-dorsal scale.
Tribolonotus choiseulensis sp. nov. is most similar to T. pseudoponceleti and T. parkeri sp. nov., but can be distinguished from the former in having fewer ventral scale rows (VSR = 42–47, mean = 42.864, mode = 43 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 45–53, mean = 49.009, mode = 50 in T. pseudoponceleti; Table 3, Fig. 7), fewer subdigital lamellae (F3L = 11–13, mean = 12.273, mode = 12 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 13–16, mean = 14.027, mode = 14 in T. pseudoponceleti; T4L = 20–24, mean = 22.000, mode = 22 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 21–27, mean = 23.885, mode = 24 in T. pseudoponceleti; Table 3, Fig. 7), and in having shorter fore-limbs relative to hind limbs (ForeL/HindL = 0.586–0.656, mean = 0.626 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 0.612–0.737, mean = 0.672 in T. pseudoponceleti; Table 2, Fig. 2). Tribolonotus choiseulensis sp. nov. is also much smaller in maximum body size than T. pseudoponceleti (maximum SVL = 47.8 mm in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 76 mm in T. pseudoponceleti). As detailed above, T. choiseulensis sp. nov. is distinguished from T. parkeri sp. nov. in having longer limbs (ForeL/SVL = 0.294–0.332, mean = 0.319 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 0.253–0.322, mean = 0.281 in T. parkeri sp. nov.; HindL/SVL = 0.498–0.521, mean = 0.510 in T. choiseulensis sp. nov. versus 0.409–0.482, mean = 0.445 in T. parkeri sp. nov.; Table 2, Fig. 2), and by color pattern: T. choiseulensis sp. nov. has a dark brown dorsum lighter yellowish tan markings in the form of paired, separated paravertebral spots with indistinct borders, whereas T. parkeri sp. nov. has much more extensive light dorsal markings of pale triangles, often merging to form paravertebral lines lateral to the enlarged vertebral scales. 
Comment 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality on Choiseul Island, Solomon Islands. 
References
  • RITTMEYER, ERIC N.; CHRISTOPHER C. AUSTIN 2017. Two new species of Crocodile Skinks (Squamata: Scincidae: Tribolonotus) from the Solomon Archipelago Zootaxa 4268 (1): 071-087 - get paper here
 
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