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Acanthodactylus lacrymae MIRALLES, GENIEZ, BEDDEK, MENDEZ-ARANDA, BRITO, LEBLOIS & CROCHET, 2020

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Higher TaxaLacertidae, Eremiadinae, Sauria, Lacertoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAcanthodactylus lacrymae MIRALLES, GENIEZ, BEDDEK, MENDEZ-ARANDA, BRITO, LEBLOIS & CROCHET 2020 
DistributionMorocco (north-eastern High Atlas chain), elevation >2,000 m

Type locality: along the north-eastern shore of the lake of Tislit, north-eastern High Atlas chain, north of Imilchil, Morocco, 32.1986°N, 5.6292°W (WGS84), 2,260 m a.s.l  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: MNHN-RA 2018.0027 (formerly BEV.11991, tissue sample in the BEV tissue collection, code T5986), adult male, collected on May 29th 2012 by Philippe Geniez and Aurélien Miralles (Fig. 8B).
Paratypes. Fifteen individuals, BEV.11980–11990, 11992–11995 (tissue sample codes T5975–5985, 5987– 5990), collected at the type locality at the same date by the same observers. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. A new species of the Acanthodactylus erythrurus species-group (small flat or carinated dorsal scales; three series of scales around the fingers; three entire supraoculars; 8–10, sometimes 12 straight longitudinal rows of ventrals; slightly pectinate toes; tail and underparts of the hind limbs red or reddish in juveniles, subadults and young adults) from the north-eastern part of the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco above 2,000 m a.s.l., characterized by the combination of the following characters: (1) head scalation always of the “bellii” type (subocular in large contact with the upper lip, wedged between the 4th and 5th supralabials), one internasal plate, no scales inserted between the prefrontals; (2) a low number of scales, especially for the dorsal scales (44–55 longitudinal rows around the body, mean 50.7), the femoral pores (16–23 or 17–23 on each side, means 19.5 and 19.4) and the subdigital lamellae (19–23, mean 19.8); (3) always less than two rows of supraciliary granules on each side and a reduced number of scales around the supraoculars (15–29 on each side, mean 22.05); (4) smooth temporals; (5) smooth dorsal scales on the neck and back, sometimes slightly but distinctly carinated (tectiform) on the back; (6) stocky proportions, especially in adults, with a relatively short tail (45.6–58.5% of the total length, mean 53.9%); (7) base of the tail extremely enlarged and thick in adult males; (8) in juveniles, undertail coral red turning paler toward the base, even paler on the rear of the underside of the thighs, where it does not reach the rows of femoral pores; undertail white in adults of both sexes; (9) some marginal ventral plates yellow or yellowish in adult and subadult males, sometimes in juveniles (but not clearly so in females); (10) a series of small rounded ocelli on each flank (3–10 brightly coloured scales), usually yellowish in adults, rarely grey greenish, which tend to disappear completely in old specimens.
Body coloration is similar to the other members of the Acanthodactylus erythrurus group. Juveniles are dark (black or blackish) to brown with three pale continuous lines on each side of the body (one on lower flanks, one at the junction between the dorsum and the flanks continuing along the tail, and one on the dorsum joining with the opposite one on the tail base) and pale mid-vertebral area starting on the nape where it is often entirely divided by a dark line and often disappearing on mid-body or before the tail; one or two series of pale ocelli are found in the dark interspaces between these stripes. Adults are medium brown with faint pale lines on the dorsum and upper flanks (corresponding with the juvenile pattern) and a better marked line on the lower flanks; irregular dark marks are present on the back between the pale lines, often leaving the area on the centre of the dorsum unmarked. The flanks typically appear darker due to the large dark areas surrounding each pale ocelli. In many specimens, the pale dorso-lateral lines continue on the outer edge of the pileus to the back of the eye and continue in a faded way along the tail. The pileus is the same colour as the back, usually with dark spots.
The combination of characters listed above separate most specimens from all other members of the A. erythrurus complex (except A. montanus sp. nov. which is extremely similar). Compared to A. montanus, A. lacrymae differs in (1) the parietals and sometimes supraoculars of juveniles with a more continuous and contrasting dark band along their outer edge, creating a more contrasted striped pattern with the pale dorsolateral band continuing through the supratemporals along the sides of the pileus (in A. montanus, parietals have a less distinctly striped pattern of dark marks and light reticulation, see Fig. 9); (2) the colour of the base of the undertail is paler and less extensive around the cloacal slit in juveniles (more intense orange red, more similar to the rest of the tail, and more extensive in juveniles A. montanus, Fig. 9); (3) the supralabials are unmarked, pale creamy even in juveniles (labials have diffuse dark stripes which persist in adults of A. montanus); (4) a sharper and better delimited border between the pale lower surface of the tail and a dark band running along the side of the tail, with a complex pattern in males (in A. montanus the pattern is less contrasted, especially in males). 
CommentDistribution: See map in Miralles et al. 2020: 321 (Fig. 10). 
EtymologyThe specific epithet “lacrymae”, noun in apposition in the plural form (“tears” in English), comes from a local Berber legend, according to which two young people from different tribes fell in love, but were forbid- den to see each other by their families. The grief led them to cry themselves to death, their tears being at the origin of the neighbouring lakes of Tislit (hers) and Isli (his). 
References
  • MIRALLES, AURÉLIEN; PHILIPPE GENIEZ, MENAD BEDDEK, DANIEL MENDEZ ARANDA, JOSÉ CARLOS BRITO, RAPHAËL LEBLOIS, PIERRE-ANDRÉ CROCHET 2020. Morphology and multilocus phylogeny of the Spiny-footed Lizard (Acanthodactylus erythrurus) complex reveal two new mountain species from the Moroccan Atlas. Zootaxa 4747 (2): 302–326 - get paper here
 
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