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Acontias gracilicauda ESSEX, 1925

IUCN Red List - Acontias gracilicauda - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontinae; Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Thin-tailed Legless Skink, Slendertail Lance Skink 
SynonymAcontias gracilicauda ESSEX 1925: 334
Acontias gracilicauda — ESSEX 1928: 268
Acontias plumbeus gracilicauda — HEWITT 1937: 46
Acontias plumbeus gracilicauda — FITZSIMONS 1943: 248
Acontias gracilicauda gracilicauda — BROADLEY & GREER 1969: 18
Acontias gracilicauda — DANIELS et al. 2005
Acontias gracilicauda — LAMB et al. 2010
Acontias gracilicauda — CONRADIE et al. 2019 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (Little Namaqualand, E Cape, OFS, S Transvaal)

Type locality: Grahamstown; also given as Carolina (fide Broadley & Greer, 1969).  
TypesHolotype: PEM R5131 (AMG un-numbered); but given as AMG 3955 (= Albany Museum), fide FITZSIMONS 1943: 249. 
CommentSubspecies: Acontias gracilicauda namaquensis HEWITT 1938 has been elevated to species status. Busschau et al. 2016 found interspecific sequence divergence values for Cyt b ranging from 3.1% between A. gracilicauda (Clade 1) and A. breviceps (Clade 2) ) to 7.4% between A. breviceps Clade 1 and Clade 2 and 6.1% between A. gracilicauda Clade 1 and Clade 2.

Limb morphology: Limbless. 
  • 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.
  • Bauer, A.M., and Branch, W.R. 2003. The herpetofauna of the Richtersveld National Park, Northern Cape Province, Republic of South Africa. Herpetological Natural History 8: 111-160 [2001]
  • Broadley, D. G. and Greer, A. E. 1969. A revision of the genus Acontias Cuvier (Sauria: Scincidae). Arnoldia Rhodesia 4 (26): 1-29.
  • 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; Brian Reeves , Neil Brown, & Jan A. Venter 2016. Herpetofauna of the Oviston, Commando Drift and Tsolwana nature reserves in the arid interior of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Indago 32: 81-98 - 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, S. R., M. G. J. Hendricks, N. J. L. Heideman and B. A. Wilson. 1999. Geographic Distribution. Acontias gracilicauda gracilicauda Essex 1925: Thin-tailed legless skink. African Herp News (29): 43 - get paper here
  • Daniels, S. R., N. Heideman, M. Hendricks, and B. Willson. 2002. A molecular phylogeny for the South African limbless lizard taxa of the subfamily Acontinae (Sauria: Scincidae) with special emphasis on relationships within Acontias. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 24: 315-323 - get paper here
  • Daniels, S.R.; Neil J.L. Heideman, Martin G.J. Hendricks, Mphalile E. Mokone, Keith A. Crandall 2005. Unraveling evolutionary lineages in the limbless fossorial skink genus Acontias (Sauria: Scincidae): are subspecies equivalent systematic units? Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 34: 645–654 - 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.
  • Essex, R. 1929. A note on three burrowing reptiles. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (10) 1: 268-270
  • Heideman, N.J.L. et al. 2008. Sexual dimorphism in the African legless skink subfamily Acontiinae (Reptilia: Scincidae). African Zoology 43 (2): 192–201 - 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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