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Cnemidophorus splendidus MARKEZICH, COLE & DESSAUER, 1997

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Higher TaxaTeiidae, Teiinae, Gymnophthalmoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Blue Rainbow lizard 
SynonymCnemidophorus lemniscatus splendidus MARKEZICH, COLE & DESSAUER 1997
Cnemidophorus lemniscatus splendidus — HARVEY et al. 2012
Cnemidophorus splendidus — MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013 
DistributionNW Venezuela (Falcon), probably adjacent Colombia

Type locality: tropical thornwood land community on a ranch 2 km S of Miraca (locality coordinates 11°52' N, 69°52' 30" W), Peninsula de Paraguana, Estado Falcon, Venezuela.  
Reproductionmay have bisexual and parthenogenetic forms like lemniscatus. 
TypesHolotype: MCNG 1403, adult male; paratypes: MCNG, FMNH, MHNLS, ULABG, UMMZ, AMNH 
DiagnosisDiagnosis (splendidus): Markezich et al. (1997) diagnosed splendidus from their concept of C. l. lemniscatus, as having a blue ground color in adult males and a black, blue, or dark brown ground color in adult females, dark blue venters in preserved adults, a single or absent vertebral stripe in adults, and a single vertebral stripe in juveniles (versus ground color green or brown in adult males and females, pale blue venters in alcohol, and a split vertebral stripes in adults and juveniles in C. l. lemniscatus). 
CommentSynonymy and subspecies: MCCRANIE & HEDGES 2013 suggested to elevate splendidus, gaigei, and espeuti to full species status. However, they “suggest the new taxonomy with the caveat that molecular studies are needed for the Colombian species recognized herein, as well as other South American populations left unassigned to a subspecies by Markezich et al. (1997).”

Similar species: C. lemniscatus is the founding member of the lemniscatus group, distinguished from all other species by the presence of preanal spurs in males and by a higher number of femoral pores (more than 40; Ávila- Pires, 1995). Avila-Pires subsummarizes a number of species under “Cnemidophorus lemniscatus species complex” due to their similarity. Members of the neotropical ‘‘C.’’ lemniscatus species group (except ‘‘C.’’ longicaudus) are more closely related to species in other neotropical cnemidophorine taxa (Ameiva and Kentropyx) (REEDER et al. 2002). Cnemidophorus lemniscatus is “Clearly a complex of species” (RIVAS et al. 2012). 
Etymologyafter the Latin “splendidus”, meaning magnificent, alluding to the striking blue color of adult males and some females. 
  • HARVEY, MICHAEL B.; GABRIEL N. UGUETO & RONALD L. GUTBERLET, Jr. 2012. Review of Teiid Morphology with a Revised Taxonomy and Phylogeny of the Teiidae (Lepidosauria: Squamata). Zootaxa 3459: 1–156 - get paper here
  • Markezich,A.L. et al. 1997. The blue and green whiptail lizards (Squamata: Teiidae: Cnemidophorus) of the peninsula de Paraguana, Venezuela: systematics, ecology, descriptions of two new taxa, and relationships to whiptails of the Guianas. American Museum Novitates (3207): 1-60 - 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
  • Neves MO, Yves A, Pereira EA, Alves L, Vasques JB, Coelho JFT, Silva PS 2019. Herpetofauna in a highly endangered area: the Triângulo Mineiro region, in Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Herpetozoa 32: 113-123 - get paper here
  • Ribeiro-Júnior, Marco A. & Silvana Amaral 2016. Diversity, distribution, and conservation of lizards (Reptilia: Squamata) in the Brazilian Amazonia. Neotropical Biodiversity, 2:1, 195-421 - get paper here
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