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Carlia longipes (MACLEAY, 1877)

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Eugongylinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Closed-litter Rainbow-skink 
SynonymHeteropus longipes MACLEAY 1877: 66
Heteropus cheverti MACLEAY 1877: 67
Leiolopisma fuscum — MITCHELL 1953 (fide COGGER 1983)
Carlia longipes — COGGER 1983: 138
Carlia longipes — COGGER 2000: 394
Carlia longipes — DOLMAN & HUGALL 2008 
DistributionAustralia (eastern Queensland: coastal areas between Cape Melville (14°10'S, 144°30'E) and Gordonvale (17°06'S, 145°47'E), S Papua New Guinea

Type locality: Endeavour River, Qld. (approx. 15°27'S, 145°14'E).  
ReproductionOviparous. Incubating eggs of the tropical skink (Carlia longipes; pictured) at different temperatures results in hatchlings with legs adapted for different terrains (Goodman et al. 2013). 
TypesHolotype: AMS (AM) R31878, (formerly MAMU R101, MR427)
Syntypes: AMS (AM) R31875-6, from Barrow Is., Qld. [Heteropus cheverti] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Carlia longipes most closely resembles C. sexdentata from which it is here separated. The two species are most readily distinguished by the colour pattern of adult males (compare Figs 6a, c & d with Figs 9a, d & f) and the nature of the ear lobules (Figs 7a–d & Figs 10a–d). (in C. longipes the dark midlateral zone between the ear and shoulder is well-defined and contrasting sharply with the lower neck colouration vs not contrasting sharply with lower neck colour; in C. longipes the ear aperture is completely surrounded by sharply pointed lobules vs usually a series of well-developed lobules on anterior margin often producing a distinctive comb-like effect, lobules poorly to moderately developed on other surfaces of ear). Carlia longipes lacks the dorsal and lateral pattern seen in C. quinquecarinata (large, longitudinally aligned, dark-edged, pale dashes on the dorsum and a broken midlateral line). Carlia longipes need only be distinguished from other species of Carlia with a smoothly rounded posterior edge to the midbody scales. It is distinguished from C. munda and C. tetradactyla by the nature of its ear lobules (sharply pointed on all surfaces of the ear aperture vs small and rounded); from C. rimula by its greater midbody scale count and larger size (32–36 vs ≤ 30; max SVL = 68.8mm vs 39mm); from C. rhomboidalis and C. rubrigularis by the state of the interparietal scale (free vs fused); from C. rostralis by its ear lobules and male breeding colours (sharply pointed lobules on all surfaces of the ear aperture vs well-developed lobules only present on anterior margin; males with pale throat vs black throat). Of the above listed species, its broad distribution only overlaps with C. munda, C. rostralis and C. rubrigularis. Whether it overlaps with C. sexdentata remains unclear. The two species may be mutually exclusive but, if so, the northern limit for C. longipes is in close proximity to the southern limit for C. sexdentata [from DONNELLAN et al. 2009]. 
CommentSynonymy after COGGER 1983 who also synonymizes Heteropus rostralis DE VIS 1885 with Carlia longipes.

Synonymy: Heteropus sexdentatus MACLEAY 1877 and Heteropus quinquecarinatus MACLEAY 1877 have been revalidated; Heteropus maculatus DE VIS 1885, Heteropus variegatus MACLEAY 1877, and Heteropus rubricatus DE VIS 1885 have been synonymized with Carlia sexdentata by DONNELLAN et al. 2009. 
EtymologyMacleay (1878) did not explain his choice of longipes (Latin, long foot) for this taxon, although his description notes: “the toes elongate and unequal.” Subsequent description of Heteropus species in his 1878 article, either mentioned shorter toes or contained no comment on foot size (Zug 2004). 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • Covacevich, J. 1971. Amphibian and reptile type specimens in the Queensland Museum. [type catalogue] Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 16: 49-68
  • De Vis, C. W. 1885. A conspect of the genus Heteropus. Proc. Roy. Soc. Queensland 1: 166-173 - get paper here
  • Dolman, Gaynor & Andrew F. Hugall 2008. Combined mitochondrial and nuclear data enhance resolution of a rapid radiation of Australian rainbow skinks (Scincidae: Carlia). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 49 (3): 782-794 - get paper here
  • DONNELLAN, S.C.; P.J. COUPER, K. M. SAINT & L. WHEATON 2009. Systematics of the Carlia ‘fusca’ complex (Reptilia: Scincidae) from northern Australia. Zootaxa 2227: 1-31 - get paper here
  • Goodman, Brett A.; Lin Schwarzkopf and Andrew K. Krockenberger, 2013. Phenotypic Integration in Response to Incubation Environment Adaptively Influences Habitat Choice in a Tropical Lizard. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Ingram G; Covacevich J 1989. Revision of the genus Carlia (Reptilia, Scincidae) in Australia with comments on Carlia bicarinata of New Guinea. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 27 (2): 443-490
  • Macleay, W. 1877. The lizards of the Chevert Expedition. Proc. Linn. Soc. New South Wales 2: 60-69; 97-104 - get paper here
  • Mitchell, F. J. 1953. A brief revision of the four-fingered members of the genus Leiolopisma (Lacertilia). Rec. South Austral. Mus. 11: 75-90 - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
  • Zug,G. R. 2004. Systematics of the Carlia “fusca” lizards (Squamata: Scincidae) of New Guinea and Nearby Islands. Bishop Mus. Bull. Zool. 5: 1-83
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