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Acontias aurantiacus (PETERS, 1854)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontinae; Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
SubspeciesAcontias aurantiacus aurantiacus (PETERS 1854)
Acontias aurantiacus bazarutoensis (BROADLEY 1990)
Acontias aurantiacus carolinensis (BROADLEY 1990) 
Common Names 
SynonymTyphline aurantiaca PETERS 1854: 620
Typhlosaurus aurantiacus — BAUER et al. 1995: 66
Acontias aurantiacus — LAMB et al. 2010

Acontias aurantiacus bazarutoensis (BROADLEY 1990)
Typhlosaurus aurantiacus bazarutoensis BROADLEY 1990
Typhlosaurus aurantiacus bazarutoensis — JACOBSEN et al. 2010
Acontias aurantiacus bazarutoensis — LAMB et al. 2010

Acontias aurantiacus carolinensis (BROADLEY 1990)
Typhlosaurus aurantiacus carolinensis BROADLEY 1990
Acontias aurantiacus carolinensis — LAMB et al. 2010 
DistributionS Zimbabwe, S Mozambique, S Botswana,
Republic of South Africa (NE Transvaal, N Zululand)

Type locality: “Inhambane, Lourenzo-Marques [Maputo]” [Mozambique].

carolinensis: as in TL; Type locality: Santa Carolina Island, Mozambique.  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 3935, 3936, 3937, 3938, MCZ 21046, ZISP 697
Holotype: NMZB 10096 [bazarutoensis]
Holotype: NMZB 10048 [carolinensis] 
DiagnosisDescription. Normally 43 head shields, the interparietal fused with the frontal, only
two pairs of nuchals, only four upper .labials. The posterior supraocular is usually fused with the parietal in specimens from Zululand and Inhaca Island. In NM.112c the anterior supraciliary is fused with the preocular; on one side of TM.12704 the posterior supraciliary is fused with the ocular. Five (rarely six or seven) chin shields bordering the mental. Snout rounded in southern populations, pointed and depressed in northern specimens. Midbody scale rows 12, paravertebral rows strongly enlarged transversly; ventrals 154-168; subcaudals 28-34 (Broadley 1990).

Diagnosis (carolinensis): This insular race agrees with T. a. fitzsimonsi in its head shield fusions, except that it usually lacks the fusion between anterior supraciliary and preocular (See Broadley, 1968, fig. 4). It agrees with T. a. bazarutoensis and differs from T. a. aurantiacus, T. a. parietalis and T. a. fitzsimonsi in its low ventral counts (see Table 2 in Broadley 1990).

Diagnosis (bazarutoensis): This insular race agrees with the typical form in lacking head shield fusions, but is distinguished from all mainland subspecies by its low ventral counts and small size (see Table 2 in Broadley 1990). 
CommentLimb morphology: Limbless.

Subspecies: Pietersen et al. 2018 elevated Acontias aurantiacus fitzsimonsi and A a. parietalis to full species but did not comment on the status of bazarutoensis or carolinensis. 
EtymologyEtymology (bazarutoensis): named after the type locality. 
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bates, Michael F. 2018. Catalogue of reptiles from Mozambique in the collection of the National Museum, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Indago 34 (2): 135–147
  • Bauer, A.M.; Günther,R. & Klipfel,M. 1995. The herpetological contributions of Wilhelm C.H. Peters (1815-1883). SSAR Facsimile Reprints in Herpetology, 714 pp.
  • Broadley D G 1990. The herpetofaunas of the islands off the coast of south Mocambique. Arnoldia Zimbabwe 9 (35): 469-493
  • Broadley, D.G. 1968. A review of the African genus Typhlosaurus Wiegmann (Sauria: Scincidae). Arnoldia (Rhodesia) 3 (36): 1-20
  • Jacobsen, Niels H.G.; Errol W. Pietersen & Darren W. Pietersen 2010. A preliminary herpetological survey of the Vilanculos Coastal Wildlife Sanctuary on the San Sebastian Peninsula, Vilankulo, Mozambique. Herpetology Notes 3: 181-193
  • Lamb, T.; Biswas, S. & Bauer, A.M. 2010. A phylogenetic reassessment of African fossorial skinks in the subfamily Acontinae (Squamata: Scincidae): evidence for parallelism and polyphyly. Zootaxa 2657: 33–46 - get paper here
  • Peters,W.C.H. 1854. Diagnosen neuer Batrachier, welche zusammen mit der früher (24. Juli und 17. August) gegebenen Übersicht der Schlangen und Eidechsen mitgetheilt werden. Ber. Bekanntmach. Geeignet. Verhandl. Königl.-Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berlin 1854: 614-628
  • PIETERSEN, DARREN W.; CLARKE H. SCHOLTZ & ARMANDA D.S. BASTOS 2018. Multi-locus phylogeny of southern African Acontias aurantiacus (Peters) subspecies (Scincidae: Acontinae) confirms the presence of three genetically, geographically and morphologically discrete taxa. Zootaxa 4442 (3): 427–440 - get paper here
  • Wagner, Philipp; Donald G. Broadley, and Aaron M. Bauer 2012. A New Acontine Skink from Zambia (Scincidae: Acontias Cuvier, 1817). Journal of Herpetology 46 (4): 494-502. - get paper here
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