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Cnemidophorus ruatanus BARBOUR, 1928

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Teiinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Central American Whiptail 
SynonymCnemidophorus lemniscatus ruatanus BARBOUR 1928: 60
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus lemniscatus — BURT 1931: 30 (part)
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus — ECHTERNACHT 1968: 152 (part)
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus ruatanus — MASLIN & SECOY 1986
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus ruatanus — WRIGHT 1993: 79
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus — MONTGOMERY et al. 2007: 38.
Cnemidophorus ruatanus — MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013
Cnemidophorus ruatanus — SUNYER & MARTÍNEZ-FONSECA 2023 
DistributionHonduras (Islas de la Bahía: Roatán, Utila, Cayo Cochino Pequeño), Guatemala (Río Motagua Valley and adjacent coastal plain), eastward across N Honduras to extreme NE Nicaragua, SE Belize; sea level to 400 m elevation

Type locality: Coxen Hole, Isla de Roatán, Islas de la Bahía, Honduras  
Reproductionoviparous (not imputed, fide Zimin et al. 2022) 
TypesHolotype: MCZ 26759 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Cnemidophorus ruatanus can be distinguished from other northern populations of the C. lemniscatus species group as follows: from C. l. espeuti of Islas de Providencia and San Andrés, Colombia, by having a single and distinct vertebral stripe, 27–32 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe, and 14–17 subdigital lamellae on the fourth finger (versus vertebral stripe split, 33–35 subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe, and 17–19 subdigital lamellae on the fourth finger in C. l. espeuti); from C. l. gaigei in having 11–13 in 31, 10 in 5, or 9 in 19 scales surrounding the three enlarged precloacal plates, and in those having only 9 scales the precloacal pair are completely separated by a single scale (Fig. 5A) in 15 or separated by distance of one-third to over one-half in 4 (versus 9–10 scales surrounding the three enlarged precloacal plates in all eight examined and the precloacal pair in broad contact, without a smaller interscale in 6 (Fig. 5B) and a small interscale not separating precloacal pair by more than one-third in 2 in C. l. gaigei [see Discussion below]). Burt (1931) synonymized C. ruatanus with C. l. lemniscatus, but the latter differs most notably from C. ruatanus in having a split or divided vertebral stripe (versus vertebral stripe single in C. ruatanus). Cnemidophorus ruatanus also differs from C. l. lemniscatus in amount of molecular divergence [MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013]. 
CommentSynonymy: after MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013. McCranie (2009), Townsend and Wilson (2010a), and Wilson and Johnson (2010) treated this species as part of Cnemidophorus lemniscatus, but McCranie and Hedges (2013) resurrected it from the synonymy of C. lemniscatus and elevated it to species level.

Distribution: see map in MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013: 306.

HAbitat: Lowland Moist Forest and Lowland Dry Forest formations, in open areas, such as beach vegetation and along open, gravely or sandy riverbanks. 
EtymologyThe specific name ruatanus refers to Isla de Roatán (misspelled Ruatan by Barbour, 1928) plus the Latin suffix – anus (inhabiting, belonging to), referring to where the type specimen of this species was collected. 
  • Barbour, T. 1928. Reptiles from the Bay Islands. Proc. New England Zool. Club 10: 55-61.
  • Burt, C. E. 1931. A study of the teiid lizards of the genus Cnemidophorus with special reference to their phylogenetic relationships. Bull. US Natl. Mus. 154: 286 pp. - get paper here
  • Echternacht, A. C. 1968. Distributional and ecological notes on some reptiles from northern Honduras. Herpetologica 24: 151-58. - get paper here
  • Maslin, T. & Secoy, D.M. 1986. A checklist of the lizard genus Cnemidophorus (Teiidae). Contr. Zool. Univ. Colorado Mus. 1: 1-60
  • Master, M H; 2019. Cnemidophorus ruatanus Mating behavior. Herpetological Review 50 (1): 139 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2015. A checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with additions, comments on taxonomy, some recent taxonomic decisions, and areas of further studies needed. Zootaxa 3931 (3): 352–386 - get paper here
  • McCranie, James R. 2018. The Lizards, Crocodiles, and Turtles of Honduras. Systematics, Distribution, and Conservation. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Special Publication Series (2): 1- 666 - get paper here
  • MCCRANIE, JAMES R.; S. BLAIR HEDGES 2013. A review of the Cnemidophorus lemniscatus group in Central America (Squamata: Teiidae), with comments on other species in the group. Zootaxa 3722 (3): 301–316 - get paper here
  • Montgomery, C. E., Reed, R. N., Shaw, H. J., Boback, S. M. & Walker, J. M. 2007. Distribution, habitat, size and color pattern of Cnemidophorus lemniscatus (Sauria: Teiidae) on Cayo Cochino Pequeno, Honduras. Southwestern Naturalist. 51(1): 38-45 - get paper here
  • MONTGOMERY, CHAD E. & JAMES M. WALKER. 2021. CNEMIDOPHORUS RUATANUS (Roatán Whiptail). INSULAR HABITATS and RELATIVE ABUNDANCE. Herpetological Review 52 (2): 403–404. - get paper here
  • Solís, J. M., L. D. Wilson, and J. H. Townsend. 2014. An updated list of the amphibians and reptiles of Honduras, with comments on their nomenclature. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1: 123–144 - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier 2014. An updated checklist of the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. Mesoamerican Herpetology 1 (2): 186–202. - get paper here
  • Sunyer, Javier & José́ Gabriel Martínez-Fonseca 2023. An updated country checklist to the amphibians and reptiles of Nicaragua. REVISTA NICARAGÜENSE DE BIODIVERSIDAD (100): 1-25 - get paper here
  • Wright, J.W. 1993. Evolution of the lizards of the genus Cnemidophorus. In: Wright,J.W. & Vitt,L.J. (eds.) Biology of Whiptail lizards (genus Cnemidophorus), pp. 27-81. Oklahoma Mus. Nat. Hist., Norman.
  • Zimin, A., Zimin, S. V., Shine, R., Avila, L., Bauer, A., Böhm, M., Brown, R., Barki, G., de Oliveira Caetano, G. H., Castro Herrera, F., Chapple, D. G., Chirio, L., Colli, G. R., Doan, T. M., Glaw, F., Grismer, L. L., Itescu, Y., Kraus, F., LeBreton 2022. A global analysis of viviparity in squamates highlights its prevalence in cold climates. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 00, 1–16 - get paper here
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