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Brachymeles suluensis TAYLOR, 1918

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Scincinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Graceful Short-legged Skink 
SynonymBrachymeles suluensis TAYLOR 1918: 254
Brachymeles gracilis — TAYLOR 1922: 247
Brachymeles gracilis gracilis — BROWN 1956: 10
Brachymeles gracilis — BROWN & ALCALA 1970: 112
Brachymeles suluensis — SILER et al. 2012: 153 
DistributionPhilippines (Basilan and Bubuan islands)

Type locality: Bubuan Island, Tapiantana Group, Sulu Province.  
TypesHolotype: MTD; probably not extant (BROWN & RABOR 1967) 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Brachymeles suluensis can be distinguished from congeners by the following combination of characters: (1) body size medium (SVL 71.9 mm); (2) limbs pentadac- tyl; (3) limb length moderate; (4) Finger-III lamellae five; (5) Toe-IV lamellae eight; (6) supralabials six; (7) infralabials six; (8) supra- ciliaries six; (9) supraoculars five; (10) mid- body scale rows 24; (11) axilla–groin scale rows 48; (12) paravertebral scale rows 69; (13) pineal eyespot present; (14) supranasals sep- arate; (15) prefrontals separate; (16) fronto- parietals separate; (17) first pair of enlarged chin shields in contact; (18) postnasal/supra- nasal fusion absent; (19) enlarged chin shields in three pairs; (20) nuchal scales undifferen- tiated; (21) fourth and fifth supralabial below eye; (22) auricular opening present; and (23) presacral vertebrae 31 (Tables 3, 4) (SILER et al. 2012). Note that this diagnosis is based on 1 specimen (female).

Comparisons.—Characters distinguishing B. suluensis from all medium-sized, pentadac- tyl species of Brachymeles are summarized in Tables 3 and 4. Brachymeles suluensis most closely resembles B. gracilis, B. vulcani, and B. tiboliorum. However, B. suluensis differs from these three taxa by having eight Toe-IV lamellae (vs. six [B. tiboliorum], seven or eight [B. gracilis], eight or nine [B. vulcani]), fewer presacral vertebrae (31 vs. 32 [B. vulcani], 33 [B. tiboliorum], 34 [B. gracilis]), the presence of a pineal eyespot (vs. presence or absence), the absence of contact between prefrontal scales (vs. presence or absence), the absence of contact between frontoparietal scales (vs. presence or absence [B. gracilis], presence [B. vulcani, B. tiboliorum]), and the presence of contact between the first pair of enlarged chin shields (vs. presence or absence [B. gracilis, B. tiboliorum], absence [B. vulcani]). Brachy- meles suluensis further differs from B. gracilis and B. tiboliorum by having five Finger-III lamellae (vs. four or five); from B. gracilis and B. vulcani by having enlarged chin shields in three pairs (vs. two); and from B. gracilis by having six infralabials (vs. six or seven) and by the absence of a fused postnasal/supranasal scale (vs. presence or absence).
Brachymeles suluensis can be distinguished from all limbless species of Brachymeles (B. apus, B. lukbani, B. minimus, B. miriamae, B. vermis) by having limbs; and from all non- pentadactyl species of Brachymeles (B. bico- landia, B. bonitae, B. brevidactylus, B. ce- buensis, B. cobos, B. elerae, B. libayani, B. muntingkamay, B. paeforum, B. pathfinderi, B. samarensis, B. tridactylus, B. wrighti) by having pentadactyl (vs. nonpentadactyl) limbs (SILER et al. 2012). 
CommentSynonymy: after SILER et al. 2012.

Pentadactyl species.

Distribution: see map in SILER et al. 2012.

Sympatry: On Basilan Island, B. suluensis is found in sympatry with B. schadenbergi. Other sympatric scincid species observed on Basilan Island include Emoia atrocostata, Eutropis multicarinata, E. rudis, E. multi- fasciata, Lamprolepis smaragdina, Lipinia quadrivittata, Pinoyscincus jagori, Spheno- morphus fasciatus, S. variegatus, Tropido- phorus misaminus, Tytthoscincus atrigularis.

Habitat: semifossorial and typically found in dry, rotting material inside or underneath decaying logs or in loose soil, forest floor detritus, and leaf litter of lowland forest. 
  • Alcala, Angel C.;Reyes, Alfredo Y. 1957. Notes on the habitat of the scincoid lizard, Brachymeles gracilis taylori Brown. Copeia 1957 (2): 144 - get paper here
  • Brown WC & RABOR DS 1967. Review of the genus Brachymeles (Sauria), with descriptions of new species and subspecies. Proc. Cal. Acad. Sci. (4) 34: 525-548 - get paper here
  • Brown, Walter C. 1956. A revision of the genus Brachymeles (Scincidae), with descriptions of new species and subspecies. Breviora (54): 1-19 - get paper here
  • Brown, WC. & A.C. ALCALA 1980. Philippine Lizards of the family Scincidae. Silliman Univ. Nat. Sci., Dumaguete City, Mon., Ser. 2: i-xi + 1-246.
  • Fischer, J. G. 1885. Ichthyologische und herpetologische Bemerkungen. V. Herpetologische Bemerkungen. Jahrb. Hamburg. Wiss. Anst. 2: 82-121 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Rafe M. Brown 2010. New Loam-Swimming Skink, Genus Brachymeles (Reptilia: Squamata: Scincidae) from Luzon and Catanduanes Islands, Philippines. Journal of Herpetology 44 (1): 49–60 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Arvin C. Diesmos, Angel C. Alcala and Rafe M. Brown 2011. Phylogeny of Philippine slender skinks (Scincidae: Brachymeles) reveals underestimated species diversity, complex biogeographical relationships, and cryptic patterns of lineage diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 59 (1): 53-65 - get paper here
  • Siler, Cameron D.; Edmond L. Rico, Mariano R. Duya, and Rafe M. Brown 2009. A NEW LIMB-REDUCED, LOAM-SWIMMING SKINK (SQUAMATA: SCINCIDAE: BRACHYMELES) FROM CENTRAL LUZON ISLAND, PHILIPPINES. Herpetologica 65 (4): 449 - get paper here
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