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Acontias rieppeli (LAMB, BISWAS & BAUER, 2010)

IUCN Red List - Acontias rieppeli - Vulnerable, VU

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Acontiinae (Acontidae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Wood-bush Legless Skink 
SynonymAcontophiops lineatus STERNFELD 1912
Typhlosaurus rieppeli — WELCH 1982: 67 (replacement name)
Acontophiops lineatus — BRANCH 1988: 115
Acontophiops lineatus — BRANCH 1993: 65
Acontophiops lineatus — DANIELS et al. 2006
Acontias rieppeli — LAMB et al. 2010 (nom. nov.)
Acontias rieppeli — ZHAO et al. 2023 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa (N Transvaal, from Woodbush to Wolkberg)

Type locality: Mpome, Transvaal  
TypesSyntypes: ZMB 3471 (3 specimens), presented Knothe. 
CommentWhile the paper is listed the species name is not mentioned in the Zoological Record of 1911.

Type species: Acontophiops lineatus STERNFELD 1911 is the type species of the genus Acontophiops STERNFELD 1911.

Acontophiops can be distinguished from Acontias by possessing two supraciliaries and with the external ear openings hidden, while Acontias possesses three to four supraciliaries and no external ear openings (DANIELS et al. 2006).

The genus Acontophiops has been synonymized with Acontias by LAMB et al. 2010. This would have resulted in Acontias lineatus which is pre-occupied by Acontias lineatus PETERS 1879.

Limb morphology: Limbless. 
EtymologyNamed after Olivier C. Rieppel, zoologist at the Field Museum, “ for his recognition of the close affinities of Acontophiops lineatus and Typhlosaurus cregoi”. 
  • 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.
  • Branch,W.R. 1988. Field Guide to the snakes and other reptiles of southern Africa. Struik Publishers, Cape Town, 328 pp.
  • 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
  • FitzSimons, V.F. 1943. The lizards of South Africa. Transvaal Museum Memoir No.1 (Pretoria), 528 pp.
  • Huey, R. B.; Pianka, E. R. 1974. Ecological character displacement in a lizard. American Zoologist 14: 1127-1136 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Rieppel, O. 1982. The phylogenetic relationships of the genus Acontophiops Sternfeld (Sauria: Scincidae), with a note on mosaic evolution. Annals Transvaal Museum 33 (12): 241-257 - get paper here
  • Sternfeld, R. 1912. Eine neue Scincidengattung aus Südafrika und eine neue Amphisbaenide aus Kamerun. Sitzungsber. Ges. Naturf. Freunde Berlin 1912: 248-250 - 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
  • Welch, K.R.G. 1982. Herpetology of the Old World 2. Preliminary comments on the classification of skinks (family Scincidae) with specific reference to those genera found in Africa, Europe and southwest Asia. Herptile 7 (4): 25
  • Witte, G.F. & R. LAURENT 1943. Contribution à la systématique des formes dégradées de la famille des Scincidae apparentées au genre Scelotes Fitzinger. Mém. Mus. r. Hist. nat. Belg. (sér.2) 26: 44 pp.
  • Zhao, Z, Goedhals, J, Verdú‐Ricoy, J, Jordaan, A, Heideman, N. 2019. Comparative analysis of the eye anatomy in fossorial and surface‐living skink species (Reptilia: Scincidae), with special reference to the structure of the retina. Acta Zool. 2019; 00: 1– 13 - get paper here
  • Zhao, Z., Conradie, W., Pietersen, D.W., Jordaan, A., Nicolau, G., Edwards, S., Riekert, S., Heideman, N. 2023. Diversification of the African legless skinks in the subfamily Acontinae (Family Scincidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
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