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Acontias breviceps ESSEX, 1925

IUCN Red List - Acontias breviceps - Near Threatened, NT

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontinae; Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Shortheaded Legless Skink, Shorthead Lance Skink 
SynonymAcontias breviceps ESSEX 1925: 332
Acontias breviceps — HEWITT 1937: 41
Acontias plumbeus breviceps — FITZSIMONS 1943: 249
Acontias breviceps — DANIELS et al. 2006
Acontias breviceps — LAMB et al. 2010
Acontias breviceps — CONRADIE et al. 2019 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (E Cape, E Transvaal)

Type locality: Hogsback, Amatola Mts., 6000 ft elevation.  
TypesLectotype: PEM R5570 (AMG un-numbered); ; R. Essex, September 1924. Paralectotypes (2): PEM R5101 & R5102; same collection details as lectotype. Previously syntypes: AMG = Albany Museum, fide FITZSIMONS 1943: 250; (3 specimens), fide Broadley & Greer, 1969. 
CommentErroneous spelling of A. brevipes? (see GREER 2001).

Limb morphology: Limbless. 
EtymologyNamed after Latin “brevis, -e” = short and “-ceps”, a short form of “caput” = head. 
  • 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.
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Busschau, Theo; Werner Conradie; Adriaan Jordaan, Savel R. Daniels 2016. Unmasking evolutionary diversity among two closely related South African legless skink species (Acontinae: Acontias) using molecular data. Zoology 121:72-82 [print 2017] - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
  • Daniels, Savel R.; Neil J. L. Heideman, Martin G. J. Hendricks, Keith A. Crandall 2006. Taxonomic subdivisions within the fossorial skink subfamily Acontinae (Squamata: Scincidae) reconsidered: a multilocus perspective. Zoologica Scripta 35 (4): 353 - get paper here
  • Essex, R. 1925. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Acontias and notes on some other lizards found in the Cape Province. Rec. Albany Mus. 3: 332-342.
  • Greer, Allen E. 2001. Distribution of maximum snout-vent length among species of Scincid lizards. Journal of Herpetology 35 (3): 383-395 - get paper here
  • Hewitt, J. 1937. Description of new forms of the genus Acontias. Trans. Roy. Soc. S. Africa 26: 39-48
  • 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
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