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Ablepharus sikimmensis (BLYTH, 1854)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae (Eugongylini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common NamesE: Sikkim Ground Skink, Bronzy-brown Skink
Chinese: 锡金滑蜥 
SynonymMocoa sikimmensis BLYTH 1854: 652
Tiliqua schlegelii GÜNTHER 1860: 153
Eumeces schlegelii — GÜNTHER 1864
Mocoa sacra STOLICZKA 1871: 195
Eumeces sikimensis — ANDERSON 1871: 158
Mocoa sikkimmensis — STOLICZKA 1872
Lygosoma sikkimense — BOULENGER 1887
Lygosoma sikkimense — ANNANDALE 1907: 154
Lygosoma sikkimense — HORA 1927: 4
Leiolopisma sikkimense — SMITH 1935: 301
Scincella sikimense — MITTLEMAN 1952
Scincella sikimmensis — GREER 1974
Scincella sikkimensis — SURA 1989
Scincella sikimmensis — ZUG & MITCHELL 1995
Scincella sikimmensis — DAS 1996: 48
Asymblepharus sikkimensis — GRUBER in SCHLEICH & KÄSTLE 2002
Himalblepharus [sic] sikimmensis — SINDACO & JEREMČENKO 2008
Asymblepharus sikkimensis — VENUGOPAL 2010
Scincella sikimmense — MURTHY 2010
Asymblepharus sikkimensis — KÄSTLE et al. 2013: 258 (in error)
Scincella sikimmensis — PYRON et al. 2013 (by implication)
Asymblepharus sikimmensis — CHE et al. 2020
Asymblepharus sikimmensis — CHAPPLE et al. 2021
Ablepharus sikimmensis — MIRZA et al. 2022 
DistributionChina (Xizang = Tibet), Bangladesh, Bhutan,
India (Darjeeling, Sikkim, Rangpur, W Bengal, Bihar), Nepal

Type locality: “Sikim”  
Reproductionoviparous 
TypesSyntypes: ZSI 2501–05
Holotype: BMNH 1946.8.16.79 [Tiliqua schlegelii]
Holotype: ZSI 2391 [Mocoa sacra Stoliczka 1871] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A rather small Scincella, maximum snout-vent length 55.7 mm, but usually much smaller (x = 39.1mm). Only 21-29 (x = 24.7) scales around midbody. Ear round and very small, without projecting lobules; tympanum deeply sunk. Ciliars not thickened (Ouboter 1986: 25). 
Comment“Several authors (Jerdon, 1870; Anderson, 1871; Blanford, 1878) have questioned the separation of "sikkimense" and "himalayanum", but only few (Gruber, 1981) have questioned the separation of "himalayanum" and "ladacense". Using the old key characters (number of scales around midbody and colour), this is easy to understand, since sikimmensis and l. himalayana are quite similar in coloration and there is a gradual increase in scale numbers between Sikkim and NW India. [...] Actually the three Himalayan taxa form a cline, in which the far ends, ladacensis and sikimmensis, are distinctly different [...] The conclusion is that himalayana more resembles ladacensis than sikimmensis and should be regarded as conspecific with ladacensis” (Ouboter 1986: 27-29).

Distribution: (apparently) erroneously reported from India (Gujarat). 
EtymologyNamed after the type locality. Note that the original spelling is “sikimmensis”. 
References
  • Anderson, J. 1871. On some Indian reptiles. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1871: 149-211 - get paper here
  • Bauer A M; Gunther R 1992. A preliminary report on the reptile fauna of the Kingdom of Bhutan with the description of a new species of scincid lizard (Reptilia: Scincidae). Asiatic Herpetological Research 4: 23-36 - get paper here
  • Bhattarai S., Gurung A., Lamichhane BR., Regmi R., Dhungana M., Kumpakha B. and Subedi N. 2020. Amphibians and Reptiles of Chure Range, Nepal. President Chure Terai-Madhesh Conservation Development Board and National Trust for Nature Conservation, Khumaltar, Lalitpur, Nepal
  • Blyth,E. 1854. Notices and descriptions of various reptiles, new or little-known. Part I. J. Asiat. Soc. Bengal 22 [1853]: 639-655 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1887. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) III. Lacertidae, Gerrhosauridae, Scincidae, Anelytropsidae, Dibamidae, Chamaeleontidae. London: 575 pp. - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A., Annandale, N., Wall, F. & Regan, C.T. 1907. Reports on a collection of batrachia, reptiles and fish from Nepal and the western Himalayas. Lacertilia. Records of the Indian Museum 1:149—155 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, George A. 1890. The Fauna of British India, Including Ceylon and Burma. Reptilia and Batrachia. Taylor & Francis, London, xviii, 541 pp. - get paper here
  • Chapple, David G; Roll, Uri; Böhm, Monika; Aguilar, Rocío Amey, Andrew P Austin, Chris C Baling, Marleen Barley, Anthony J Bates, Michael F Bauer, Aaron M Blackburn, Daniel G Bowles, Phil Brown, Rafe M Chandramouli, S R Chirio, Laurent Cogger, Hal Co 2021. Conservation Status of the World’s Skinks (Scincidae): Taxonomic and Geographic Patterns in Extinction Risk. Biological Conservation 257: 109101 - get paper here
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  • Gautam, Bivek; Mukesh Kumar Chalise, Kul Bahadur Thapa, and Santosh Bhattarai 2020. Distributional patterns of amphibians and reptiles in Ghandruk, Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal. IRCF Reptiles & Amphibians 27 (1): 18–28 - get paper here
  • Günther, A. 1864. The Reptiles of British India. London (Taylor & Francis), xxvii + 452 pp. - get paper here
  • Günther,A. 1859. List of cold-blooded vertebrata collected by Mr. Fraser in the Andes of Western Ecuador. Proc. Zool. Soc. London 1859: 89-93 - get paper here
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  • Hora, S.L. 1927. Notes on lizards in the Indian Museum. III. On the unnamed collection of lizards of the family Scincidae. Records of the Indian Museum 29: 1-6
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  • Lenz, Norbert 2012. Von Schmetterlingen und Donnerdrachen - Natur und Kultur in Bhutan. Karlsruher Naturhefte 4, Naturkundemuseum Karlsruhe, 124 pp.
  • Mirza ZA, Bragin AM, Bhosale H, Gowande GG, Patel H, Poyarkov NA. 2022. A new ancient lineage of ablepharine skinks (Sauria: Scincidae) from eastern Himalayas with notes on origin and systematics of the group. PeerJ 10:e12800 - get paper here
  • Murthy, T.S.N. 2010. The reptile fauna of India. B.R. Publishing, New Delhi, 332 pp.
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  • Pyron, R.A.; Frank T Burbrink, John J Wiens 2013. A phylogeny and revised classification of Squamata, including 4161 species of lizards and snakes. BMC Evol Biol 13: 93 - get paper here
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  • Smith, M.A. 1935. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Reptiles and Amphibia, Vol. II. Sauria. Taylor and Francis, London, 440 pp.
  • Stoliczka, F. 1871. Notes on new or little-known Indian lizards. Proc. asiat. Soc. Bengal (Calcutta) 1871: 192-195 - get paper here
  • Sura, P. 1989. Über eine kleine Sammlung von Fröschen und Echsen aus dem zentralen Teil Nepals. Herpetofauna 11 (58): 28-31 - get paper here
  • Swan, L.W., & Leviton, A.E. 1962. The herpetology of Nepal: a history, check list, and zoogeographical analysis of the herpetofauna. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. 32 (6) (4.s.): 103-147. - get paper here
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  • Venugopal, P.D. 2010. An updated and annotated list of Indian lizards (Reptilia: Sauria) based on a review of distribution records and checklists of Indian reptiles. Journal of Threatened Taxa 2 (3): 725-738. - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jinlong Ren, Hongman Chen, Zhitong Lyu, Xianguang Guo Ke Jiang, Jinmin Chen, Jiatang Li, Peng Guo, Yingyong Wang, Jing Che 2020. The updated checklists of amphibians and reptiles of China. Biodiversity Science 28 (2): 189-218 - get paper here
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