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Tympanocryptis cephalus GÜNTHER, 1867

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Amphibolurinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Coastal pebble-mimic dragon, Blotch-tailed Earless Dragon 
SynonymTympanocryptis cephalus GÜNTHER 1867: 52
Tympanocryptis cephalus — BOULENGER 1885: 393
Tympanocryptis cephalus cephalus — MITCHELL 1948
Tympanocryptis cephalus gigas MITCHELL 1948
Tympanocryptis cephalus gigas MITCHELL 1948
Tympanocryptis cephalus gigas — WORRELL 1963: 184
Tympanocryptis cephalus cephalus — WORRELL 1963: 184
Tympanocryptis cephalus cephalus — STORR 1964
Tympanocryptis cephala gigas — STORR 1964
Tympanocryptis cephalus gigas — WERMUTH 1967: 98
Tympanocryptis cephalus — WERMUTH 1967: 97
Tympanocryptis cephalus cephalus — WERMUTH 1967: 98
Tympanocryptis cephala — STORR 1982
Rotundacryptus cephalus — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 19
Rotundacryptus gigas — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 19
Tympanocryptis cephalus — COGGER 2000: 352
Tympanocryptis cephalus — PIANKA & VITT 2003: 68
Tympanocryptis cephalus — CHAPPLE et al. 2019: 91 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia)

gigas: Western Australia (from Ashburton River and the Great Sand Desert south to Dongara, Paynes Find and to the vicinity of Kalgoorlie); Type locality: Ashburton and gascoyne Rivers, Western Australia.

Type locality: Nicol Bay [= Nickol Bay = Karratha], Western Australia  
TypesLectotype: BMNH 1946.8.12.78 (formerly one of, from Nickol (as Nicol) Bay, W. A., designated by Cogger 1983. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Distinguished from other Tympanocryptis by the following combination of character states: presence of two pre-cloacal pores, lack of longitudinal stripes on the dorsum, presence of enlarged scales with raised spines arranged in transverse rows, snout straight or convex, scales on snout with low keels, rostral width ~3–4 times height, weakly defined row of enlarged scales at anterior and dorsal edge of thigh, scales on dorsal surface of thigh not aligned, ventrals with low keels, and irregular dark blotches along midline of dorsum [Doughty et al. 2015].
CommentSynonymy: Tympanocryptis cephalus gigas has been synonymized with the nominate form by STORR 1982 and other authors, but revalidated by Doughty et al. 2015.

Type species: Tympanocryptis cephalus GÜNTHER 1867: 52 is the type species of the genus Rotundacryptus WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 19.

Comparisons with other species. Tympanocryptis cephalus is most likely to be confused with T. gigas, T. fortescuensis sp. nov., and T. diabolicus sp. nov., as these species all occur in the Pilbara or Gascoyne regions. Tympanocryptis cephalus is distinguished from T. gigas by possessing enlarged dorsal scales in short transverse rows on the dorsum (versus scattered spines not arranged in rows), scales on snout with low keels (versus rugose or with feeble keels), ventrals keeled (versus smooth), and smaller average body size.
From T. diabolicus sp. nov. and T. fortescuensis sp. nov., T. cephalus is distinguished by generally longer transverse rows of enlarged scales on dorsum (5–7 versus 2–5), slightly wider rostral (3.5 versus 3.0 times wider than high), enlarged row of scales at front of thigh not forming a conspicuous ridge, and usually possessing a series of dark blotches along the midline; further distinguished from T. diabolicus sp. nov. by scales on snout possessing low keels (versus rugose scales or feebly keeled) and scales on upper thigh not aligned.
From the more geographically distant T. pseudopsephos sp. nov., T. cephalus is distinguished by straight or convex snout (versus concave), low keels on snout (versus rugose or feebly keeled scales), rostral scale 3.5 times wider than high (versus 2 times), enlarged row of scales at front of thigh not forming a conspicuous ridge, keels on dorsal surface of upper arm not aligned, ventrals with low keels and spine protruding past posterior edge of scale (versus smooth with no spines), and more brownish coloration with vertebral series of irregular dark blotches [Doughty et al. 2015].

Habitat. Very little data exists on this species, but WAM specimen records indicate its occurrence on red rocky loams or clayey substrates, with Triodia, Snakewood (Acacia xiphophylla), or annual grasses as the vegetation type. The Pilbara Biodiversity Survey data also indicated a preference for clayey substrates (Doughty et al. 2011, 2015). 
EtymologyThe word cephalus is a Latinized version of the Greek cephalos, meaning ‘head’. Presumably this refers to the distinctive short head of this this species relative to other Australian agamid lizards at the time of description, as no explicit etymology was given. We maintain usage of cephalus as a noun in apposition, in contrast to occasional use of cephala (e.g. Storr 1964, 1982, Doughty et al. 2015). 
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. Geckonidae, Eublepharidae, Uroplatidae, Pygopodidae, Agamidae. London: 450 pp. - get paper here
  • Chapple, David G.; Reid Tingley, Nicola J. Mitchell, Stewart L. Macdonald, J. Scott Keogh, Glenn M. Shea, Philip Bowles, Neil A. Cox, John C. Z. Woinarski 2019. The Action Plan for Australian Lizards and Snakes 2017. CSIRO, 663 pp. DOI: 10.1071/9781486309474 - get paper here
  • Cogger H.G., Cameron EE & Cogger HM 1983. Zoological Catalogue of Australia, Volume 1: AMPHIBIA AND REPTILIA. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.
  • 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.
  • DOUGHTY, PAUL; LUKE KEALLEY, LUKE P. SHOO & JANE MELVILLE 2015. Revision of the Western Australian pebble-mimic dragon species-group (Tympanocryptis cephalus: Reptilia: Agamidae). Zootaxa 4039 (1): 085–117 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1867. Additions to the knowledge of Australian reptiles and fishes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (3) 20: 45-57 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E.R. & Vitt, L.J. 2003. Lizards - Windows to the Evolution of Diversity. University of California Press, Berkeley, 347 pp. [review in Copeia 2004: 955] - get paper here
  • Storr, G M 1982. Taxonomic notes on the genus Tympanocryptis Peters (Lacertilia: Agamidae). Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 10 (1): 61-66 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1964. The agamid lizards of the genus Tympanocryptis in Western Australia. J R. Soc. West. Aust. 47: 43-50.
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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