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Abronia meledona CAMPBELL & BRODIE, 1999

IUCN Red List - Abronia meledona - Endangered, EN

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Higher TaxaAnguidae (Gerrhonotinae), Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymAbronia meledona CAMPBELL & BRODIE 1999
Abronia meledona — KÖHLER 2000: 38 
DistributionSE Guatemala (Jalapa), 2200-2660 m elevation.

Type locality: near the Torre de Guatel, near the aldea of Soledad Grande, Jalapa, Guatemala, 2660 m elevation (14° 31' N, 90° 09' W). This locality is located about 4 km airline ESE of Mataquescuintla on the slopes drained by the upper tributaries of the Rio Tapalapa.  
TypesHolotype: UTA R-31041, an adult female, The University of Texas at Arlington. The type was collected by local resident for Christian Girola and Eric Smith (original field no. CLG 199) on 28 September 1991. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A species of Abronia in which (1) the distinctive supra-auricular scales of adults are protuberanat and spinelike; (2)supranasals are small and unexpanded, not in contact at dorsal midline; (3) median frontonasal scale present,usually not contacting frontal; (4) posterior internasals not greatly enlarged; (5) canthals discrete; (6) 2-3 anterior temporals per side; if two, both contacting the postoculars; if three, lower two contacting postoculars and upperscale relatively small and variably in contact with parietal; (7) parietal usually contacting median supraoculars, but in individuals having three anterior temporals per side, the upper temporal scale intervenes to partially or completely separate the parietal from the median supraocular series; (8) occipital single; (9) posterior head scales of adults not strongly convex or knoblike; (10) anterior superciliary contacting cantholoreal, similar in length to other scales in series; (11) posterior subocular broadly separated from the lower primary temporal by the penultimate supralabial, the posteriormost scale in this series to reach the orbit; (12) granular preauricular scales in about three rows; (13) postmental single; (14) posterior infralabial elongate, usually about twice as long as preceding infralabials; (15) longitudinal nuchal scales in six rows; (16) dorsal scales in 27-32 transverse rows; (17) dorsal scales in 14 (rarely 12) longitudinal scale rows, arranged parallel relative to ventrolateral fold; (18) ventral scales in 14 longitudinal rows; (19) dorsum of adults green or cream-colored with heavy black mottling (Fig. 1); (20) subadults bronze with black spots arranged in irregular transverse series across dorsum.
The characters in the standard diagnosis given above will serve to distinguish this species from most other species of Abronia, exclusive of some members of the aurita subgroup. Members of this subgroup are similar to each other morphologically, but can be distinguished by their unique color patterns and by a combination of morphological features (Table 1). In contrast to the pinkish cream or green dorsal coloration that is very heavily mottled with black in A. meledona, the dorsum is paler green with less black mottling in A. aurita and A. vasconcelosii, deep emerald green with the posterior edges of the scales yellow-green in A. anzuetoi, and some shade of brown with moderate dark mottling in A. campbelli. Adult males of A. aurita and A. vasconcelosii usually have distinctive orange spots on their heads, whereas these spots are absent or poorly developed in A. meledona; if present, they are restricted to about the posterior third of individual scales in the temporal region. Orange spots are absent in A. anzuetoi and A. campbelli. The circumorbital region and supra-auricular spines are bright yellow in all species except A. campbelli, in which these areas are whitish or pale tan. Abronia vasconcelosii most frequently has 11 supralabials, whereas the other species have a modal number of 10. Some characters appear to vary somewhat clinically from east to west (exclusive of A. aurita, which occurs well to the north of the southern highlands where the other species occur). The lower tertiary temporal scale makes broad contact with the second primary temporal (thus, the lower scales of the primary and tertiary series of temporals are also in contact) with a frequency of 76% in A. campbelli, 37% in A. meledona, 50% in A. anzuetoi, 3% in A. vasconcelosii and 0% in A. aurita. The modal number of transverse dorsal and ventral scale rows, respectively, are 31 and 34 in A. campbelli, 28 and 35 for A. meledona, 28 and 36 for A. anzuetoi, and 29 and 36 for A. aurita and A. vasconcelosii. 
CommentAbundance: only known from its original description (Meiri et al. 2017). 
  • Ariano-Sánchez, Christian & Melendez, Lester 2014. Baumschleichen der Gattung Abronia in Guatemala. Terraria-Elaphe 2014 (3): 44-48 - get paper here
  • Campbell, Jonathan A. and Edmund D. Brodie, Jr. 1999. A new species of Abronia (Squamata: Anguidae) from the southeastern highlands of Guatemala. Herpetologica 55 (2): 161-174 - get paper here
  • Köhler, G. 2000. Reptilien und Amphibien Mittelamerikas, Bd 1: Krokodile, Schildkröten, Echsen. Herpeton Verlag, Offenbach, 158 pp.
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
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