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Celestus occiduus (SHAW, 1802)

IUCN Red List - Celestus occiduus - Extinct, EX

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Higher TaxaDiploglossidae, Diploglossa, Anguimorpha, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Jamaican Giant Galliwasp, Sinking Galliwasp 
SynonymLacerta Occidua SHAW 1802: 288
Scincus gallivasp DAUDIN 1802: 239
Diploglossus Shawii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 590
Diploglossus Cliftii — DUMÉRIL & BIBRON 1839: 595 (fide BRYGOO 1987)
Celestus impressus COPE 1868: 127 (fide GRANT 1951)
Diploglossus occiduus — BOULENGER 1885: 290
Macrogongylus brauni WERNER 1901: 299 (fide BÖHME & FISCHER 1998)
Celestus impressus — BARBOUR 1910: 298
Celestus occiduus — SCHWARTZ & HENDERSON 1991: 378
Celestus occiduus — WILSON 2011
Celestus occiduus — SCHOOLS & HEDGES 2021 
DistributionJamaica (Antilles)

Type locality: Jamaica.  
TypesHolotype: BMNH XV.1 18a.
Lectotype: ANSP 9225 [C. impressus]
Syntypes: MNHN (= MHNP) 1227 (2675), 175 (77?) mm [shawii] 
DiagnosisDESCRIPTION: Size large (maximum SVL 305 mm in males, 256 mm in females); limbs long; nasal excluded from rostral; angular subocular between supralabials 8 and 9; dorsal and caudal scales striate, but not keeled; ventrals smooth, 107-121 between mental and vent; 49-50 scales around midbody; 16-23 fourth toe lamellae. Dorsum (as preserved) brownish with dark brown spots or crossbands (Schwartz & Henderson 1991: 378). 
CommentConservation: now probably extinct; last reports are from the 1840s (Langner 2019).

Synonymy: partly after BRYGOO 1987.

Abundance: only known from the type locality (Meiri et al. 2017). 
  • Barbour, T. 1910. Notes on the herpetology of Jamaica. Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool. Harvard 52: 273—301 - get paper here
  • Böhme, W. & E. Fischer 1998. Verification of species identity and geographic origin of an extinct lizard (Reptilia: Anguidae: Celestus occiduus) based on stomach contents, with comments on other undiscovered large lizards. Cryptozoology 13: 23-37
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1885. Catalogue of the lizards in the British Museum (Natural History). Vol. 2, Second edition. London, xiii+497 pp. - get paper here
  • Brygoo, E. R. 1987. Les types d'Anguid és (Reptiles, Sauriens) du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle Catalogue critique. Bulletin du Museum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris, 4e ser., 9, sect. A (Zool., BioI. & Ecol. anim.), (2), supplement, 3-20. - get paper here
  • Cope, E.D. 1868. An examination of the Reptilia and Batrachia obtained by the Orton Expedition to Equador and the Upper Amazon, with notes on other species. Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 20: 96-140 - get paper here
  • Duméril, A. M. C. and G. Bibron. 1839. Erpétologie Générale on Histoire Naturelle Complète des Reptiles. Vol. 5. Roret/Fain et Thunot, Paris, 871 pp. - get paper here
  • Joseph-Ouni, M. 2005. Profiles of Extinction #12: Jamaican Giant Galliwasp - Celestus occiduus. Reptilia (GB) (38): 4 - get paper here
  • Langner, Ch. 2019. Ich komme Dir auf die Schliche! Verkanntes Schleichenvolk – die interessanten Echsen der Familie Anguidae. Reptilia (Münster) 24 (136): 16-27 - get paper here
  • Meiri, Shai; Aaron M. Bauer, Allen Allison, Fernando Castro-Herrera, Laurent Chirio, Guarino Colli, Indraneil Das, Tiffany M. Doan, Frank Glaw, Lee L. Grismer, Marinus Hoogmoed, Fred Kraus, Matthew LeBreton, Danny Meirte, Zoltán T. Nagy, Cristiano d 2017. Extinct, obscure or imaginary: the lizard species with the smallest ranges. Diversity and Distributions - get paper here
  • SCHOOLS, MOLLY & S. BLAIR HEDGES 2021. Phylogenetics, classification, and biogeography of the Neotropical forest lizards (Squamata, Diploglossidae). Zootaxa 4974 (2): 201–257 - get paper here
  • Schwartz, A. & Henderson, R.W. 1991. Amphibians and Reptiles of the West Indies. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, 720 pp.
  • Shaw, GEORGE 1802. General zoology or systematic natural history, vol. 3, Pt 1. Thomas Davison, London, viii+312 pp - get paper here
  • Werner, F. 1901. Neue Reptilien des Königsberger Zoologischen Museums. Zool. Anz. 24: 297-301 - get paper here
  • Wilson, Byron S. 2011. Conservation of Jamaican amphibians and reptiles. In: Hailey et al., eds, Conservation of Caribbean Island Herpetofaunas Volume 2: 273-310 - get paper here
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