Voeltzkowia mobydick (MIRALLES, ANJERINIAINA, HIPSLEY, MÜLLER, GLAW & VENCES, 2012)
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|Higher Taxa||Scincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)|
|Synonym||Sirenoscincus mobydick MIRALLES, ANJERINIAINA, HIPSLEY, MÜLLER, GLAW & VENCES 2012|
Voeltzkowia mobydick — MIRALLES et al. 2015
Type locality: Northwest Madagascar, Sofia region, commune rurale of Port Bergé II, 3 km from the village of Marosely, plateau of Bongolava (15°38’49.7’’S, 47°34’59’’E), 250 m elevation.
|Types||Holotype: UADBA R70487 (field number ZCMV 12920; 14-15.XI.2004, collected by Mirana Anjeriniaina). Paratype. Same data as holotype, UADBA R70488 (field number MA283).|
|Diagnosis||Diagnosis. The new species is a member of the genus Sirenoscincus as defined by Sakata & Hikida (2003a), easily distinguished from all other genera of skinks worldwide by the combination of: 1) the presence of two forelimbs and the absence of hindlimbs (all other genera except Jarujinia being either quadrupedal, completely legless, or having two hindlimbs only); 2) the regressed eyes sunken below scales; and 3) completely depigmented skin. It is differentiated from S. yamagishii (see Figs 1; 6), the only other species described within the genus, by several apomorphic characteristics: 1) the flipper-like aspect of the forelimbs (versus presence of four stout claws in S. yamagishii); 2) the absence of frontonasal, likely fused with the frontal (versus presence of both scales); 3) the absence of preocular, likely fused with the loreal (versus presence of both scales); and 4) the absence of postsubocular, likely fused with the pretemporal (versus presence of both scales). Additionally, S. mobydick n. sp. has one presacral vertebra less than S. yamagishii (52 in the new species versus 53), but this difference may not be reliable given the rather small sample size involved.|
|Comment||Abundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017).|
|Etymology||Named after Moby Dick, the famous albino sperm whale imagined by Herman Melville (1851), with whom the new species shares several uncommon characteristics, such as the lack of hindlimbs, the presence of flipper-like forelimbs, highly reduced eyes, and the complete absence of pigmentation (see Fig. 7). The name is an invariable noun in apposition.|
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