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Cercosaura oshaughnessyi (BOULENGER, 1885)

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: White-Striped Eyed Lizard
Portuguese: Lagarto-da-Terra 
SynonymPrionodactylus oshaughnessyi BOULENGER 1885: 392
Euspondylus oshaughnessyi — CUNHA 1961: 146
Prionodactylus oshaughnessyi — VANZOLINI 1972: 107 (?)
Prionodactylus oshaughnessyi — DUELLMAN 1991
Prionodactylus oshaughnessyi — AVILA-PIRES 1995: 468
Prionodactylus oshaughnessyi — PELLEGRINO et al. 2001
Prionodactylus oshaughnessyi — PIANKA & VITT 2003: 203
Cercosaura oshaughnessyi — TORRES-CARVAJAL et al. 2015
Cercosaura oshaughnessyi — ECHEVARRIA et al. 2015
Cercosaura oshaugnessyi — RIBEIRO-JUNIOR & AMARAL 2016 (in error)
Cercosaura oshaughnessyi — STURARO et al. 2017 
DistributionN Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil (W Amazonas, Amapa, Acre), French Guiana

Type locality: Canelos and Pallatanga, Ecuador.  
TypesSyntypes: BMNH 1946.8.31.18-20, 
DiagnosisDiagnosis. Frontonasal divided. Loreal in contact with supralabials. Scales around midbody 31-45. Males with 17-28 pores in total, females with 8-15 or none; one pore in preanal position, separated from its opposite number by two ventrals in a transverse row. Subdigital lamellae not or only slightly tuberculate, 16-22 under fourth toe. A sharp delimitation on sides of head, on temporal region usually half to one scale above supralabials, between a brown dorsal surface and a white ventral surface; lower flanks with a white stripe delimited ventrally by a dark narrow band (Avila-Pires 1995).

Description. Gymnophthalmid with maximum SVL, among material studied, of 51 mm in males (MPEG 15149) and females (RMNH 26562). Head 0.23-0.31 (n= 109) times SVL, proportionally slightly shorter in larger specimens, 1.5-2.0 (1.72 ± 0.10, n= 107) times as long as wide, 1.1-1.4 (1.26 ± 0.07, n= 107) times as wide as high. Snout pointed, widening sharply posteriorly. Neck slightly narrower than head and body. Body cylindrical to slightly depressed. Limbs well developed, forelimb 0.29-0.38 (0.33 ± 0.02, n= 98) times SVL, hind limb 0.41-0.54 (0.47 ± 0.03, n= 94) times. Tail cylindrical, 2.0-2.3 (2.15 ± 0.09, n= 21) times SVL in specimens larger than 32 mm SVL, in smaller specimens as short as 1.5 times SVL.
Tongue lanceolate, covered with small, imbricate, scale-like papillae, except for the bifid tip which is smooth. Anterior teeth conical, posterior teeth mostly tricuspid, some bicuspid.
Rostral crescent-shaped in dorsal view, more than twice as wide as deep. A pair of rectangular frontonasals (much longer than wide), followed by a pair of shorter, irregularly pentagonal prefrontals; in AMNH 115009 and BM 1946.8.31.20 anazygous rhomboid scale is present between them. Frontal hexagonal, longer than wide and widest anteriorly. A pair of irregularly pentagonal frontoparietals, with long medial suture. Interparietal heptagonal, longer than wide, lateral borders approximately parallel. One parietal at each side, shorter and wider than interparietal. One median and two larger lateral occipitals (occasionally irregular small scales may be present between occipitals, or between median occipital and interparietal). Three supraoculars, first largest. Supraciliaries 3-6, usually four, first largest and expanded dorsally. Nostril in an undivided nasal. Loreal large, irregularly pentagonal (occasionally quadrangular), mostly in contact with supralabials. Frenocular trapezoidal.
Subocular series formed by one or two small preoculars, three or four suboculars, posterior one largest, and three or four postoculars, uppermost largest. Lower eyelid with semitransparent disc of 1-3, mostly two, palpebrals. Seven or eight supralabials and postsupralabials in total, fourth supralabial below centre of eye. Lower part of temporal region with relatively small scales, upper part with large scales. Ear-opening oval, surrounded by small scales or those on supero-anterior border transversely elongate, forming a smooth margin. Tympanum recessed, leaving a short auditory meatus.
Mental crescent-shaped or semicircular. Postmental large, pentagonal or heptagonal. Four pairs of chinshields, first two in medial contact, third separated at least by two moderately large scales, in some specimens with smaller scales between them. Fourth 'pair' consisting of two large scales at each side, outer ones rather than inner ones in line with anterior three pairs of chinshields, frequently inner ones reduced or in such a position that they resemble pregulars; occasionally both outer and inner scales are equivalent. Lateral scales of fourth 'pair' in contact with infralabials or not, inner ones separated medially by two to four scales. Several pregulars of variable size; occasionally an enlarged scale posterior of inner fourth chinshield may be considered a reduced fifth chinshield. Four or five infralabials, followed by two or three narrower postinfralabials; when four infralabials, third and fourth longest, suture between them below centre of eye, when five infralabials, fourth shorter than third and fifth and under the eye. A complete or interrupted row of small scales between pregulars and gulars. Al l scales on head juxtaposed, smooth.
Nape with two or four enlarged scales in a transverse row, followed by subimbricate to imbricate transverse series of quadrangular or slightly wider than long, not or only slightly keeled scales, which posteriad grade into dorsals. Scales on sides of neck small, rounded, juxtaposed to subimbricate, in transverse rows. Gulars in 8-11 transverse rows of imbricate to subimbricate, smooth scales, of which one to six rows (occasionally none) have a pair of enlarged median scales. Collar usually with three enlarged scales medially, occasionally two; toward the sides scales decrease gradually in size.
Dorsals imbricate, keeled, elongate-hexagonal, in 37-52 (43.6 ± 2.7, n= 106) transverse rows (from first row posterior to occipitals to posterior margin of hind limbs); 11-17 (14.3 ± 1.1, n= 106) scales in a transverse row at midbody Scales on flanks distinctly smaller and sharply delimited from dorsals and ventrals, with rounded posterior margin, mostly smooth but some slightly keeled. Ventrals imbricate, smooth, in 16-21 (18.4 ± 1.0, n= 106) transverse, and six longitudinal rows; scales in the four median longitudinal rows quadrangular, with rounded posterior margin, those in outermost row at each side narrower than, or approximately as wide as median ones, with rounded lateral and posterior margins. Scales around midbody 31-45 (38.1 ± 2.8, n= 105). Preanal plate with two anterior and two posterior scales in males, two anterior and two or four posterior scales in females (occasionally three, asymmetrical scales in males or females). Pores enclosed in a single scale, 17-28 (21.4 ± 2.5, n= 50) in total in males, 8-15 (11.2 ± 1.7, n= 47) in females, except those from Amapa which have no pores. In both sexes one pore at each side in preanal position, in the posterior area of a rhomboid scale which is separated from its opposite number by two ventral scales in a transverse row.
Scales on tail similar to dorsals, distally smooth, on underside of tail similar to ventrals but becoming gradually narrower.
Scales on upper and posterior aspects of upper arms, on most of forearms, on anterior and ventral aspects of thighs, on ventral and part of anterior and posterior aspects of lower legs large, smooth, imbricate. On remaining areas of limbs scales small, smooth and subimbricate. Subdigital lamellae not or only slightly tuberculate, in double row except for a few distal lamellae which are single; 12-18 (15.3 ± 0.9, n= 197, 101 specimens) under fourth finger, 16-21 (19.0 ± 1.3, n= 193, 100 specimens) under fourth toe (Avila-Pires 1995).

Colour in life: MPEG 15149 (male, Amapa), vandyke-brown (121) on dorsal surface of head, sepia (219) dorsolaterally; back dark drab (119B) with sepia (219) dorsal stripes, and a cream (54) dorsolateral stripe at each side; flanks with a crimson (108) dorsal band peppered with black and bordered on both sides by a black stripe on neck, turning to sepia (219) on body; ventrally, a cream (54) area bordered below by a sepia (219) stripe which starts on posterior infralabials. Ventral region light cream with small central dark spots on belly; ventrolateral scales on posterior half of belly, some posterior median scales, pore scales, preanals and subcaudals spinel-red (108B). Tail dorsally cinnamon-brown (33). Iris gold with black spots and an orange rim around pupil, tongue white with black anterior extremity. RMNH 26562 (female, Amapa) with head dorsally raw-umber (223), back mars-brown (223A) with raw-umber stripes and a dorsolateral beige (219D) stripe; sides of head and flanks Prout's brown (121A), with a chamois (123D) lateral stripe and a very small spot above arm insertion of same colour. Head ventrally and gulars pearl-white, belly the same with a greenish hue. Dorsal pattern of tail and limbs similar to that of body, ventral surface of limbs cream, on tail with a chrome-orange (16) hue, paler at base. Iris greyish-brown. Tongue white with black anterior extremity.
From western Amazonas, RMNH 26565 (male) was sepia (219) on head and anterior part of back, Prout's brown (121A) posteriorly; flanks crimson (108) with white, black-bordered ocelli, and white to yellow-ochre (123C) stripe. Ventral surface of head and chest pearl-white, belly pale sulphur-yellow (157), underside of tail pale flesh-ochre (132D), darkening distally Forelimbs sepia (219), hind limbs Prout's brown, both with pale spots; underside of limbs pale yellow. Iris brown, tongue white at base, anteriorly black with white tip. MPEG 15887 and RMNH 26574-575 (females) were sepia (219) on dorsal surface of head, back natal-brown (219A) with black spots. Flanks warm-sepia (221A) with very small white spots and an anteriorly white, posteriorly tan stripe (bordered by black in RMNH 26574-575). Ventral surface of head pearl-white, belly sulphur-yellow (157). Tail dorsally amber (36) with black spots, ventrally pale spectrum-orange (17). Iris orange-brown. MPEG 15892-893, two juveniles, were similar to the females just described, but for the posterior part of back which was amber (36), flanks anteriorly black, and tail dark chrome-orange (16) dorsally, spectrum-orange (17) ventrally (Avila-Pires 1995).

Color in preservative: general dorsal colour brown, darker on head, mostly with longitudinal dark stripes on body, but these may be missing or be very faint; on nape the dark stripes can form a reticulate pattern. A light dorsolateral stripe delimits the dorsal area from a dark lateral band running from tip of snout to groin. In adult males this dark band contains a series of well developed ocelli (less conspicuous in the only male examined from Amapa), formed of a one-scale white centre and a relatively wide black rim; in females and juveniles the ocelli are smaller and fainter (in some females only represented by a series of faint light scales), anterior ones more distinct than posterior ones. The dark band is delimited ventrally, on head and neck, by a darker stripe, in sharp contrast with the light (cream or white) area below. On temporal area this dark stripe runs along the middle or upper level of first row, or on second row, of scales above supralabials. On neck and body, and in some specimens on head, this light area is delimited ventrally by a dark, dotted band, narrower or wider according to the specimen. Except for this, ventral surface of head usually spotless, as well as anterior gulars and in some specimens part of anterior ventrals; remaining gulars and ventrals, preanals and subcaudals with a central clutch of small dark dots (Avila-Pires 1995). 
CommentSynonymy: P. oshaughnessyi has been synonymized with P. argulus by UZZELL (1973) and DOAN 2003. However, some authors continued to treat P. oshaughnessyi as valid species, e.g. Pellegrino et al. (2001), Avila-Pires et al. 2009. Torres-Carvajal et al. 2015 found argulus and oshaughnessyi as (weakly) separated genetically and monophyletic although their sampling was somewhat biased (with only 2 specimens of argulus) and all specimens of oshaughnessyi being from a relatively small geographic area. We accept oshaughnessyi given that it was also considered as distinct by Sturaro et al. 2017. 
EtymologyPrionodactylus oshaughnessyi was named after A. W. E. O’Shaughnessy, herpetologist of the British Museum.  
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  • Sturaro, Marcelo José; Teresa C. S. Avila-Pires & Miguel T. Rodrigues 2017. Molecular phylogenetic diversity in the widespread lizard Cercosaura ocellata (Reptilia: Gymnophthalmidae) in South America. Systematics and Biodiversity - get paper here
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