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Amphisbaena tiaraju PEREZ & BORGES-MARTINS, 2019

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Higher TaxaAmphisbaenidae, Amphisbaenia, Lacertoidea, Squamata
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymAmphisbaena tiaraju PEREZ & BORGES-MARTINS 2019
Amphisbaena munoai — PEREZ et al., 2012: 5 (in part) 
DistributionBrazil (Rio Grande do Sul)

Type locality: Cerro Largo, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (28° 8’ 30’’S, 54° 49’ 59.9’’ W).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: UFRGS 5370. Collected by Rafael L. Balestrin, Simone B. Leonardi and Luis Fernando M. da Fonte on 30 August 2009 (Fig. 5).
Paratypes. UFRGS 4896* Augusto Pestana, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; UFRGS 5037, 5039, 5040, 5041, 5297*, 5298*, 5299*, 5366*, 5367*, 5368*, 5371, 5999 Cerro Largo, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; UFRGS 5692*, 5693*, 5694*, 5695*, 5696*, 5697* Caibate, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; UFRGS 5842*, 5843*, 5844*, 5849*, 5850*, 5851* Vitoria das Misso~es, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Amphisbaena tiaraju sp. nov. is distinguished from other species of Amphisbaena by the following character combination: (1) rounded head; (2) smooth segments at the tip of the tail; (3) four pre-cloacal pores; (4) 204-221 body annuli; (5) 18-25 caudal annuli; (6) caudal autotomy seen externally from 7e9 caudal annuli; (7) presence of postmalar row; (8) 10e14 dorsal segments on the mid-body annulus; (9) distance between ocular shields representing 35%-43% of the head width; (10) dark brown colouration with uniform shield pigmentation.

Comparison: Amphisbaena tiaraju sp. nov. is distinguished from A. albocingulata by presenting the post-malar row (vs. post-malar row absent). It differs from A. darwinii and A. hogei by presenting 204-221 body annuli (vs. 178-199 and 177-191 body annuli, respectively). It differs from A. heterozonata by presenting 18e25 caudal annuli (vs. 13-17 caudal annuli). It differs from A. trachura by presenting smooth scales in the tip of the tail (vs. tuberculate scales). Differs from A. nigricauda by presenting a uniform coloration in the tip of the tail (vs. a darker coloration in the tip of the tail). Differs from A. prunicolor by presenting a dark brown colouration with uniform shield pigmentation (vs. checkered pattern colouration). Differs from A. munoai by presenting a larger distance between ocular shields, varying between 35.3% and 42.7% (x = 39.5 ± 2.3) of head length (HL) (vs. 28.7-37.5, x = 32.7 ± 0.9), a dark brown uniform coloration (vs. light brown uniform coloration) and by 6.4% of 16S rDNA mean genetic distance. 
Comment 
EtymologyThe species is named after the South-American Indigenous warrior Sepe Tiaraju,supposedly born around 1723, leader of the “Sete Povos das Missōes”, a set of seven indigenous settlements founded by the Spanish Jesuits in northwest Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Sepe Tiaraju is a Guarani hero, symbol of indigenous sentiment of liberty, but he was also part of the gaucho folklore traditions, immortalized in many regional literary works. He died in the Caiboate battle against the Portuguese and Spanish army in 1756, together with other 1500 Guaranis. He now is officially recognized as a hero at regional (State Law 12.366, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) and federal level (Brazilian Federal Law 12.032/09) by its importance in the formation of the southern Brazilian frontiers. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition of the official Portuguese spelling. The tribute was a reference to the restricted distribution of the species to the “Missōes” region. 
References
  • Perez, R. & Borges-Martins, M. 2019. Integrative taxonomy of small worm lizards from Southern South America, with description of three new species (Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zool. Anz. 283: 124–141 - get paper here
  • PEREZ, RENATA; SÍRIA RIBEIRO & MÁRCIO BORGES-MARTINS 2012. Reappraisal of the taxonomic status of Amphisbaena prunicolor (Cope 1885) and Amphisbaena albocingulata Boettger 1885 (Amphisbaenia: Amphisbaenidae). Zootaxa 3550: 1–25 - get paper here
 
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