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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Amphibolurinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards) 
Common NamesE: Claypan Earless Dragon 
SynonymTympanocryptis argillosa MELVILLE, CHAPLIN, HIPSLEY, SARRE, SUMNER & HUTCHINSON 2019: 23 
DistributionAustralia (South Australia)

Type locality: E Side of Lake Hope Channel,12 km SSE Red Lake Yard, Strzelecki Desert, South Australia, 28°19’1100 S, 139°13’1400 E.  
TypesHolotype. SAMA R49360, adult female. Collected by M.H. on 9 April 1997.
Paratypes. NMV D3119, Lake Eyre, South Australia, 28°22’ S, 137°22’ E, adult female; SAMA R3619, Lake Palankarinna, South Australia, 28°4600 S, 138°2500 E, adult female; R46073, Artemia Point, Hunt Peninsula, Lake Eyre North, South Australia, 28°4100 S, 137°2200 E, adult male; R51039, 6.3 km NNW of Wimma Hill, South Australia, 27°17’3200 S, 140°17’2600 E, adult male; R51360–61, 4.4 km NNW of Beal Hill, Simpson Desert Regional Reserve, South Australia, 26°35’4300 S, 137°49’5100 E, adult male; R54088, 4.1 km SW of Kalamurina homestead, South Australia, 27°55’3600 S, 137°57’2200 E, adult male: R54247, 23.5 km W of Kannakaninna Waterhole, Kalamurina Station, South Australia, 27°53’4000 S, 137°44’2300 E, adult female; R54248, 23.5 km W of Kannakaninna Waterhole, Kalamurina Station, South Australia, 27°53’4000 S, 137°44’2300 E, adult male. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Tympanocryptis with rostral scale separated from the canthus rostralis, nasal scale extending dorsally across the canthus and bordered below by enlarged scales, well-developed lateral neck fold, no lateral skin fold, weakly keeled dorsal head scales, five-lined pattern present but light lines usually discontinuous, ventral surface white.

Comparison with other species. The morphological and molecular data show a mismatch in the area around Olympic Dam, central South Australia where a specimen genotyped as T. argillosa is phenotypically T. tolleyi sp. nov. (Species D) (SAMA R37888; electronic supplementary material, figure S5 in appendix S2). This suggests earlier contact or long distance dispersal of T. argillosa to the Olympic Dam region of South Australia. In this region, all animals examined are phenotypically T. tolleyi sp. nov. (Species D), suggesting capture of the T. argillosa mtDNA haplotype. There is no evidence that T. tolleyi sp. nov. (Species D) and T. argillosa are currently sympatric or closely allopatric, the nearest records being separated by over 200 km.
In the southeastern parts of its range, T. argillosa overlaps with its sister species T. petersi, with evidence of some hybridization. In the contact zone, T. argillosa can be distinguished from T. petersi by its pale creamy brown to beige body colour with little patterning (versus richer red-brown colour and bolder patterning), broken poorly defined dorsolateral lines only visible in the darker cross-bands (versus more continuous and well-defined dorsolateral lines), presence of flat unkeeled dorsal body scales (versus all body scales being keeled and imbricate) and two to three enlarged scales along the ventral margin of the nasal scale (versus no enlarged scales with small lateral snout scales contacting the nasal scale).
Tympanocryptis argillosa overlaps with T. tetraporophora, from which it can be distinguished by having a well-developed neck skin fold, and no femoral pores (versus two present), and T. intima, from which it can be distinguished by the presence of the neck skin fold, keeled (rather than smooth) dorsal head and snout scales and irregularly scattered enlarged dorsal tubercules (versus a few enlarged tubercules forming longitudinal series). 
CommentHabitat. Specimens mostly associated with the clayey swales between the dunes of the sandy deserts where it occurs.

Distribution: see map in Melville et al. 2019: 6 (Fig. 1: species B) 
EtymologyAdjectival form of the Latin word for clay, argilla, alluding to the preference of this species for the heavier soiled clay swales that are commonly encountered between the dunes of the Strzelecki and southern Simpson Deserts. 
  • Melville J, Chaplin K, Hipsley CA, Sarre SD, Sumner J, Hutchinson M. 2019. Integrating phylogeography and high-resolution X-ray CT reveals five new cryptic species and multiple hybrid zones among Australian earless dragons. R. Soc. open sci. 6: 191166 - get paper here
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