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Abronia aurita (COPE, 1869)

IUCN Red List - Abronia aurita - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cope's Arboreal Alligator Lizard 
SynonymGerrhonotus auritus COPE 1869: 306
Gerrhonotus auritus — O’SHAUGHNESSY 1873: 45
Gerrhonotus auritus — BOULENGER 1885: 271
Gerrhonotus auritus — HARTWEG & TIHEN 1946: 2
Abronia aurita — TIHEN 1949
Gerrhonotus auritus — WERMUTH 1969: 15
Auriculabronia aurita
Abronia aurita — KÖHLER 2000: 37
Abronia aurita — KÖHLER 2008: 60 
DistributionGuatemala (Alta Verapaz), SE Mexico ?

Type locality: vast forests of Vera Paz, in the neighborhood of the ancient cities of Peten and Coban.  
TypesHolotype: USNM 6769
Syntypes: MNHN-RA 1189 (1868.14, 2553 alpha), 285 (178) mm; 1189A, 314 (193)mm; 1189B, 217 (131) mm [fimbriata] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: “A species of Abronia having: (1) distinctive spinelike supra-auricular scales in subadults and adults; (2) unexpanded supranasals; (3) a median frontonasal scale, usually not contacting frontal; (4) posterior internasals not greatly enlarged; (5) discrete canthals; (6) 2-5 (usually 3) primary temporals, the lower two contacting the postoculars; (7) usually no parietal-median supraocular contact; (8) a single occipital; (9) posterolateral head scales not knoblike; (10) anterior superciliary contacting cantholoreal, similar in length to other scales in series; (11) the posterior subocular broadly separated from the lower primary temporal by the penultimate supralabial, which is the posteriormost scale in this series to reach the orbit; (12) preauricular scales small, granular, elevated, usually disposed in 3-4 rows; (13) postmental variable, but most frequently single; (14) the posteriormost infralabial elongate, often about twice as long as preceding infralabials; (15) usually six longitudinal nuchal scale rows; (16) 27-31 dorsal transverse scale rows; (17) 14 dorsal longitudinal scale rows, these parallel to ventrolateral fold; (18) 14 ventral longitudinal scale rows; (19) adult greenish dorsal coloration with much black mottling concentrated into indistinct dorsal crossbands; (20) juvenile pattern of dark dorsal crossbands. This species differs from all other species of Abronia that have protuberant supra-auricular scales, except A. anzuetoi (fig. 11C, D), A. gaiophantasma (fig. 11A, B), some A. matudai, and A. lythrochila (fig. 11F), in having 14 longitudinal ventral scale rows. Abronia aurita differs from all other species of Abronia except A. graminea, A. anzuetoi, and A. smithi (fig. 11E) in having a distinctly yellow orbital region. Abronia aurita differs from A. anzuetoi in coloration (relatively pale green or yellow-green with yellow and/or orange markings versus dark emerald green or dark blue green), in having comparatively shorter posterior internasals, and being of a smaller size (maximum SVL 125 versus 135 mm). Abronia aurita differs from A. gaiophantasma in having more numerous postoccipital rows between the occipital and first nuchal row (two or three versus one), having multiple rows of nonimbricate preauriculars (versus two or fewer subimbricate rows), having an expanded posterior infralabial, the parietal usually in contact with the median supraoculars (not so in A. gaiophantasma), and features of color pattern. Abronia aurita differs from most specimens of A. lythrochila in having discrete canthals (versus canthals usually fused with posterior internasals) and in having a distinctly yellow circumorbital region.” (Campbell & Frost 1993: 13 and Table 1). 
CommentNot listed in LINER 1994. Not listed by KÖHLER (2000) for Mexico.

Synonymy: Barisia fimbriata COPE 1885: 171 was synonymized with Abronia aurita by STUART 1963, but later revalidated. 
EtymologyApparently named after the large scales (partially) covering the ear opening, from Latin auris = ear. 
  • Bocourt 1872. Description de quelques Gerronotes nouveaux provenant du Mexique et de l’Afrique Centrale. Bull. Nouv. Arch. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 7 (4): 101-108 [1871] - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Brygoo, E. R. 1987. Les types d'Anguid és (Reptiles, Sauriens) du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle Catalogue critique. Bulletin du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, 4e ser., 9, sect. A (Zool., BioI. & Ecol. anim.), (2), supplement, 3-20. - get paper here
  • Campbell J A; Frost D R 1993. Anguid lizards of the genus Abronia: revisionary notes, descriptions of four new species, a phylogenetic analysis, and key. Bull. Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist. 216: 1-121 - get paper here
  • Campbell, Jonathan A., Mahmood Sasa, Manuel Acevedo and Joseph R. Mendelson, III. 1998. A new species of Abronia (Squamata: Anguidae) from the High Cuchumatanes of Guatemala. Herpetologica 54 (2): 221-234. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1868. Sixth contribution to the herpetology of Tropical America. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 305-313 - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1885. Twelfth contribution to the herpetology of tropical America. Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22: 167-194 [1884] - get paper here
  • Good, D.A. 1988. Phylogenetic relationships among gerrhonotine lizards; an analysis of external morphology. Univ. California Publ. Zool. 121: 139 pp. - get paper here
  • Hartweg, N., & TIHEN, J. E. 1946. Lizards of the genus Gerrhonotus from Chiapas, México. Occ. Pap. Mus. Zool. Univ. Michigan No. 497: 1-5 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2000. Reptilien und Amphibien Mittelamerikas, Bd 1: Krokodile, Schildkröten, Echsen. Herpeton Verlag, Offenbach, 158 pp.
  • Köhler, G. 2008. Reptiles of Central America. 2nd Ed. Herpeton-Verlag, 400 pp.
  • Langner, Christian 2014. Baumschleichen der Gattung Abronia. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (1): 14-26 (2013) - get paper here
  • Liner, E.A. 1994. Scientific and common names for the Amphibians and Reptiles of Mexico in English and Spanish. Herpetological Circular 23: 1-113
  • O’Shaughnessy, A. W. E. 1873. Herpetological notes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 12: 44-48 - 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
  • Stuart, L. C. 1948. The amphibians and reptiles of Alta Verapaz Guatamala. Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 69: 1-109 - get paper here
  • Stuart, L.C. 1963. A checklist of the herpetofauna of Guatemala. Misc. Publ. Mus. Zool., Univ. Michigan (No. 122): 1-150 - get paper here
  • Tihen, J. A. 1949. The genera of gerrhonotine Iizards. American Midland Naturalist 41: 579-601 - get paper here
  • Tihen, J. A. 1954. Gerrhonotine lizards recently added to the American Museum collection, with further revisions of the genus Abronia. American Museum Novitates (1687): 1-26 - get paper here
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