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Tropidosaura essexi HEWITT, 1927

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Essex's Mountain Lizard 
SynonymTropidosaura essexi HEWITT 1927: 378
Tropidosaura essexi — FITZSIMONS 1943: 309
Tropidosaura essexi — FITZSIMONS 1947: 115
Tropidosaura essexi — BATES et al. 2014: 178 
DistributionSouth Africa (SW Natal), NE Lesotho

Type locality: Mont aux Sources (11,500 ft. elevation), Basutoland  
Reproductionviviparous; all gravid Tropidosaura essexi specimens examined by Nicolau et al. 2022 exhibited simple placental development or contained well-developed embryos with the presence of a simple placenta and an absence of any eggshell. The large yolks and simple placentae suggest that viviparity in T. essexi is lecithotrophic. T. essexi thus represents the only known viviparous species of lacertid in Africa. 
TypesSyntypes: PEM R16094–8 (formerly AMG 5227) 
CommentType not in South Africa fide SAMA catalog (Anonymous 1958). 
EtymologyNamed after Robert Essex who worked as a collector at the Albany Museum when Hewitt was Director there. Essex also described two new Acontias. 
  • Arnold E N 1986. The hemipenes of lacertid lizards (Reptilia: Lacertidae): structure, variation, and systematic implications. Journal of Natural History 20: 1221-1257 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • Cozien, R. J., T. van der Niet, S. D. Johnson, and S.-L. Steenhuisen. 2019. Saurian surprise: lizards pollinate South Africa’s enigmatic hidden flower. Ecology 00(00):e02670. 10.1002/ecy.2670 - get paper here
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Fitzsimons,V.F.M. 1947. Descriptions of new species and subspecies of reptiles and amphibians from Natal, together with notes on some other little known species. Ann. Natal Mus. (Pietermaritzburg) 11 (1): 111-137
  • Hewitt, J. 1927. Further descriptions of reptiles and batrachians from South Africa. Rec. Albany Mus. (Grahamstown) 3 (5): 371-415
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. & Wyk, Johannes H. van 1993. Reptile fauna of the Katse Dam catchment area and a biogeographical assessment of species composition in the Lesotho Highlands. Koedoe (Pretoria), 36 (1): 67-78. - get paper here
  • Nicolau, Gary K., Emily A. Jackson, Adriaan Jordaan & Graham J. Alexander. 2022. Tropidosaura essexi Hewitt, 1927 (Reptilia: Lacertidae) is live bearing: the only viviparous African lacertid. African Journal of Herpetology 0(0): 1–7. - get paper here
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