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Xenosaurus mendozai NIETO-MONTES DE OCA, GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, ZÚÑIGA-VEGA & SCHMIDT-BALLARDO, 2013

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Higher TaxaXenosauridae, Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards) 
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymXenosaurus mendozai NIETO-MONTES DE OCA, GARCÍA-VÁZQUEZ, ZÚÑIGA-VEGA & SCHMIDT-BALLARDO 2013
Xenosaurus platyceps — GONZÁLEZ-ESPINOSA 2002 (in part)
Xenosaurus platyceps — LEMOS-ESPINAL et al. 2004 (in part)
Xenosaurus platyceps — ZAMORA-ABREGO 2004 (in part).
Xenosaurus mendozai — JOHNSON et al. 2017 
DistributionMexico (NE Querétaro)

Type locality: approximately 7 km NE of Tilaco, municipality of Landa de Matamoros, Querétaro, México 21°10’53’’ N, 99°09’02’’ W), 1348 m elevation.  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MZFC 9443, adult male, (Figs. 1, 2); Paratypes: MZFC 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Xenosaurus mendozai does not appear to possess morphological autapomorphies. However, it may be readily distinguished from all congeners by a unique combination of characters.
Xenosaurus mendozai differs from all of the other species of the genus north of the Mexican Transvolcanic Belt in usually having (in 84.6% of the specimens, n= 26) 2 postrostral scales on each side of the midline (usually 1 medial and 2-3 lateral postrostral scales between the medial postrostral and nasal scales on each side in the other taxa [in 90.9%, 92.3%, and 71.4% of the specimens, n= 11, 13, and 8, in X. newmanorum, X. platyceps, and X. tzacualtipantecus, respectively]). It may be further distinguished from these species as follows: from X. newmanorum, by having fewer lamellae under the fourth toe (23-26, _x= 24.3, n= 25; 29-32, _x= 30.3, n= 11, in X. newmanorum); from X. platyceps, by having labiomental rows that usually extend posteriorly from the second or third chinshield (in 92.3% of the specimens, n= 26; labiomentals rows usually extending posteriorly from the first chinshield [in 73.1% of the specimens, n= 13], in X. platyceps), and from X. tzacualtipantecus, by having the postorbital and zygomatic ridges widely separated from each other by an intervening row of scales (postorbital and zygomatic ridges in contact in X. tzacualtipantecus).
Xenosaurus mendozai may be distinguished from all the other species and subspecies of Xenosaurus south of the Mexican Transvolcanic Belt by 2 combinations of characters. First, X. mendozai differs from all of these taxa, except X. agrenon, in that the largest supraoculars are not, or only slightly, wider than long (largest supraoculars distinctly wider than long in the other taxa), and in usually having (in 84.6% of the specimens, n= 26) 2 postrostral scales on each side of the midline (1 medial and 2-3 lateral postrostral scales between the medial postrostral and nasal scales on each side in the other taxa). Second, X. mendozai differs from X. agrenon, X. grandis, X. penai, X. r. rackhami, and X. r. sanmartinensis by having a venter that is immaculate or with only diffuse, scattered dark specks on the sides (usually distinct, dark scattered scales and crossbars on the venter in the other taxa) and the postorbital region rounded, lacking a canthus temporalis demarcated by enlarged or well-defined scales. In the other taxa, the canthus temporalis varies from weak (yet distinct) to well developed, and consists of a longitudinal postorbital series of enlarged scales distinctly set off from the smaller granular temporal scales.
Xenosaurus mendozai may be further distinguished from X. phalaroanthereon and X. rectocollaris by having the postorbital and zygomatic ridges widely separated from each other by an intervening row of scales (postorbital and zygomatic ridges usually in contact [in 81.3% of the specimens, n= 16, in X. phalaroanthereon; in all of the specimens in X. rectocollaris]) and by having more lamellae under the fourth toe (23-26, _x= 24.3, n= 25; 19- 22, _x= 19.4, n= 16, in X. phalaroanthereon; 20-22, _x= 20.5, n= 11, in X. rectocollaris) (see also Table 1 in NIETO-MONTES DE OCA et al. 2013)
 
CommentBehavior: diurnal

Diet: insectivorous, with Coleoptera, Orthoptera, and larvae of Lepidoptera being the most consumed prey types.

Sympatry: no other Xenosaurus. The nearest species to the type-locality of X. mendozai is X. newmanorum, which occurs near Xilitla in the southeastern extreme of San Luis Potosí approximately 32 km (straight line) to the northeast (King and Thompson, 1968; Lemos-Espinal et al., 2000), followed by X. tzacualtipantecus, from central-east Hidalgo and adjacent Veracruz (Zamora-Abrego, 2009; Woolrich-Piña and Smith, 2012) about 84 km to the southeast, and X. platyceps, from several localities in Tamaulipas, the nearest of which to the type locality of X. mendozai is about 280 km (straight line) to the north (King and Thompson, 1968).

Similar species: X. mendozai is more similar in scalation and color pattern to X. platyceps than to X. newmanorum or X. tzacualtipantecus. 
EtymologyThe specific name is a patronym for the late Fernando Mendoza Quijano, in honor of whom this species is named in recognition of his significant contributions to the knowledge of the herpetofauna of Mexico, and in particular of the species described herein. 
References
  • Johnson, J. D., L. D. Wilson, V. Mata-Silva, E. García-Padilla, and D. L. DeSantis. 2017. The endemic herpetofauna of Mexico: organisms of global significance in severe peril. Mesoamerican Herpetology 4(3): 544–620
  • Nieto-Montes de Oca A, Sánchez-Vega H, Durán-Fuentes I 2018. A new species of knob-scaled lizard (Xenosauridae, Xenosaurus) from the Sierra Madre Oriental of Puebla, Mexico. ZooKeys 737: 141-160 - get paper here
  • Nieto-Montes de Oca, Adrián; Anthony J. Barley, Rubi N. Meza-Lázaro, Uri O. García-Vázquez, Joan G. Zamora-Abrego, Robert C. Thomson, Adam D. Leaché 2016. Phylogenomics and species delimitation in the knob-scaled lizards of the genus Xenosaurus (Squamata: Xenosauridae) using ddRADseq data reveal a substantial underestimation of diversity. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 106: 241-253 - get paper here
  • Nieto-Montes de Oca, Adrián; Uri O. García-Vázquez, J. Jaime Zúñiga-Vega and Walter Schmidt-Ballardo 2013. A new species of Xenosaurus (Squamata: Xenosauridae) from the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve of Querétaro, Mexico. Revista Mexicana de Biodiversidad 84: 485-498 - get paper here
  • Reaño-Hernández, Ismael, Aurelio Ramírez-Bautista and José Daniel Lara-Tufiño. 2016. Xenosaurus mendozai Nieto-Montes de Oca, García-Vázquez, Zúñiga-Vega and Schmidt-Ballardo, 2013. Reproduction. Mesoamerican Herpetology 3 (3): 731–733
 
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