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Tumbunascincus luteilateralis (COVACEVICH & MCDONALD, 1980)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Orange-speckled Forest-skink 
SynonymSphenomorphus luteilateralis COVACEVICH & MCDONALD 1980
Sphenomorphus luteilateralis — COGGER 1983
Concinnia luteilateralis — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1983
Eulamprus luteilateralis — FRANK & RAMUS 1995
Eulamprus luteilateralis — COGGER 2000: 485
Magmellia luteilateralis — WELLS 2009
Eulamprus luteilateralis — WILSON & SWAN 2010
Tumbunascincus luteilateralis — SKINNER et al. 2013
Concinnia luteilateralis — COGGER 2014: 453
Magmellia luteilateralis — COGGER 2014: 978 (addendum)
Magmellia luteilateralis — SHEA 2019 
DistributionAustralia (CE Queensland)

Type locality: Eungella National Park, in 21° OYS, 148° 35’ E, Qld.  
TypesHolotype: QM J31685 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (genus): Australian Sphenomorphus group scincids possessing the following combination of derived character states: third pair of enlarged chin scales separated by 5 (instead of 3) scale rows, visceral fat bodies absent, postmental contacts a single infralabial, lateral surfaces between forelimb and hind limb bright orange with small white spots (see Covacevich and McDonald, 1980).

The diagnoses of Magmellia by Wells (2009) and Tumbunascincus by Skinner et al. (2013) were extremely limited, if not to say: useless.

While the description of Sphenomorphus luteilateralis by Covacevich and McDonald (1980) reports the ventral colour of preserved species as white, and a white venter is also mentioned by Wilson and Knowles (1988) and Cogger (2014), live individuals have yellow to orange bellies, more yellow in females, more orange in males and approaching the orange lateral colour (S. Eipper, pers. comm., individuals from near Mt Dalrymple, in Shea 2019).

Despite the lack of any obvious differences between the genera in the literature, there is one scalation character, not previously mentioned for either genus, that does distinguish them. In both species of Karma (bilaterally in 142/145 K. murrayi examined, and unilaterally in the other three individuals; bilaterally in all nine K. tryoni), the lower secondary temporal is overlapped by the upper secondary temporal, as in most skinks. However, in Magmellia luteilateralis, the lower secondary temporal typically overlaps the upper secondary temporal (Fig. 1). Of 24 specimens of this species examined, this state is present bilaterally in 20, and unilaterally in the remaining four. The character state is also visible in photographs of live individuals by Wilson and Knowles (1988), Ehmann (1992), Fyfe (2008), Cogger (2014), Wilson (2015), and Wilson and Swan (2017) (from Shea 2019).

Among the other genera related to Magmellia (based on the genetic analyses of Skinner et al. 2013), the lower secondary temporal scale overlaps the upper secondary temporal scale only in Coeranoscincus reticulatus and Coggeria naufragus among the ingroup taxa (lower secondary temporal overlapped by upper secondary temporal in Saiphos, Ophioscincus and Coeranoscincus frontalis; Greer 1983; Greer & Cogger 1985; Couper et al. 1996), while in the first outgroup, (Nangura (Gnypetoscincus (Concinnia))), it is present in C. martini and C. frerei, but not in C. brachysoma, C. sokosoma, C. tenuis or C. tigrina (Greer 1992; pers. obs. for C. tigrina) (from Shea 2019). 
CommentType species: Sphenomorphus luteilateralis COVACEVICH & MCDONALD 1980 is the type species of the genus Tumbunascincus SKINNER et al. 2013.

Phylogenetics: see Singhal et al. 2017 and 2018 for a phylogeny of Australian sphenomorphine skinks.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014)

Morphology: Hutchinson et al. 2021 present a table of morphological character states across 20 Australian sphenomorphine skinks, including this genus. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin luteus = golden yellow, supposedly on the flanks (lateral), which are, however, rather orange.

The genus name refers to the Tumbunan zoogeographic division, which includes (among other regional faunas) the sub-tropical rainforest fauna of the Eungella Plateau in mid-eastern Queensland (see Schodde, 2006). 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Covacevich J; McDonald K R 1980. Two new species of skinks from mid-eastern Queensland rain forest. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 20(1): 95-101 - get paper here
  • Hutchinson, M. N., Couper, P., Amey, A., & Wilmer, J. W. 2021. Diversity and Systematics of Limbless Skinks (Anomalopus) from Eastern Australia and the Skeletal Changes that Accompany the Substrate Swimming Body Form. Journal of Herpetology 55 (4): 361-384 - get paper here
  • Shea, G.M. 2019. Current status of the genera Karma and Magmellia Wells, 2009 (Scincidae: Lygosominae: Sphenomorphini) with a morphological character to distinguish the two genera. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Nature 61: 187–191 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Skinner, Adam; Mark N. Hutchinson, Michael S.Y. Lee 2013. Phylogeny and Divergence Times of Australian Sphenomorphus Group Skinks (Scincidae, Squamata). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 69 (3): 906–918 - get paper here
  • Wells, R.W. 2009. Some taxonomic and nomenclatural considerations on the class Reptilia in Australia. A review of the genera Eulamprus and Glaphyromorphus (Scincidae), including the description of new genera and species. Australian Biodiversity Record (3): 1–96.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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