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Cordylus cordylus (LINNAEUS, 1758)

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Higher TaxaCordylidae (Cordylinae), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Cape Girdled Lizard
G: Kap-Gürtelschweif 
SynonymLacerta cordylus LINNAEUS 1758: 202
Cordylus verus LAURENTI 1768
Stellio cordylus — DAUDIN 1802
Cordylus dorsalis CUVIER 1829
Cordylus griseus CUVIER 1829
Zonurus vertebralis GRAY 1838
Zonurus cordylus — GRAY 1845
Zonurus cordylus — BOULENGER 1885: 256
Zonurus cordylus — BOULENGER 1897: 277
Zonurus cordylus — ANDERSSON 1900: 8
Zonurus cordylus — ROUX 1907
Zonurus cordylus flavus ROSE 1926
Zonurus cordylus tasmani POWER 1930
Cordylus cordylus tasmani FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus cordylus — FITZSIMONS 1943
Cordylus tasmani — BROADLEY 1971
Cordylus cordylus — FROST et al. 2001
Cordylus tasmani — ADOLPHS 2006
Cordylus cordylus — STANLEY et al. 2011
Cordylus cordylus — BATES et al. 2014: 187 
DistributionRepublic of South Africa, SW Lesotho and S KwaZulu-Natal

Type locality: “Africa, Asia”

tasmani: Republic of South Africa (Algoa Basin in E Cape; Type locality: Dunbrody, Uitenhage District, South Africa.  
ReproductionOvoviviparous/Viviparous, giving birth to 1–3 young. 
TypesHolotype: NRM (Royal Museum Stockholm)
Syntypes (13): a) PEM R13518–22 (formerly AMG 5183) [tasmani] 
CommentDistribution: Not listed for Botswana by AUERBACH 1987. Not in Tanzania, Kenya fide SPAWLS et al 2018. Restricted to South Afric and SW Lesotho and S KwaZulu-Natal; see map in Bates et al. 2014: 187. For maps of all species of Cordylus see Bates et al. 2023: 636 (Fig. 13).

Synonymy: Cordylus tasmani nests within Cordylus cordylus in a molecular phylogeny based on 6 genes (Stanley et al. 2011).

Type species: Cordylus verus LAURENTI 1768 (= Lacerta cordylus LINNAEUS 1758) is the type species of the genus Cordylus LAURENTI 1768.

ZMB 1135 appears to be pictured in Merrem 1790: 42, 1821: 52 and may be the iconotype of Linnaeus 1758 (fide BAUER & GÜNTHER 2014)

Key: for a key to the species of Cordylus in Angola see Bates et al. 2023: 635. 
EtymologyNamed after Greek “kordyle” = bump, swelling, referring to the rough skin of the genus (and the species). 
  • Adolphs, K. 2006. Bibliotheca Cordyliformium. Squamata Verlag, Sankt Augustin, 303 pp.
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  • Andersson, L.G. 1900. Catalogue of Linnean type-specimens of Linnaeus's Reptilia in the Royal Museum in Stockholm. [type catalogue] Bihang till Konglika Svenska Vetenskaps-Akademiens. Handlingar. Stockholm. (4) 26 (1): 1-29. - get paper here
  • Auerbach, R.D. 1987. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Botswana. Mokwepa Consultants, Botswana, 295 pp.
  • Bates MF, Lobón-Rovira J, Stanley EL, Branch WR, Vaz Pinto P 2023. A new species of green-eyed Cordylus Laurenti, 1768 from the west-central highlands of Angola, and the rediscovery of Cordylus angolensis (Bocage, 1895) (Squamata: Cordylidae). Vertebrate Zoology 73: 599-646 - get paper here
  • BATES, M. F.; T. CLARK & S. ABELL 2017. CORDYLIDAE: Cordylus cordylus (Linnaeus, 1758) - CAPE GIRDLED LIZARD IN LESOTHO. African Herp News (64): 39-41 - get paper here
  • Bates, M.F.; Branch, W.R., Bauer, A.M.; Burger, M., Marais, J.; Alexander, G.J. & de Villliers, M.S. (eds.) 2014. Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Suricata 1. South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, 512 pp.
  • Bauer, Aaron M. & Rainer Günther 2014. Die Amphibien und Reptilien aus der von Borcke-Sammlung des Berliner Museums für Naturkunde: eine Fundgrube für verschollen geglaubtes Seba-Material. Sekretär 14 (1): 3-33 - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G. A. 1897. A list of reptiles and batrachians from the Congo Free State, with the description of two new snakes. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (6) 19: 276-281 - get paper here
  • 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
  • Branch, William R. 1993. A Photographic Guide to Snakes and Other Reptiles of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers, 144 S.
  • Broadley, Donald G. 1971. A reassessment of the northern forms currently assigned to the Cordylus cordylus group. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 7: 20-22. - get paper here
  • Brody, L. S.;Mouton, P. le F. N.;Grant, W. S. 1993. Electrophoretic analysis of the Cordylus cordylus species group in the southwestern Cape, South Africa. Amphibia-Reptilia 14 (1): 19-34 - get paper here
  • Conradie, Werner; Brain Reeves, Sandile Mdoko, Lwandiso Pamla, Oyama Gxabhu 2020. Herpetological survey of the Ongeluksnek (Malekgalonyane) Nature Reserve on the foothills of the Drakensberg, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Herpetology Notes 13: 717-730 - get paper here
  • Conradie, Werner; Brian Reeves , Neil Brown, & Jan A. Venter 2016. Herpetofauna of the Oviston, Commando Drift and Tsolwana nature reserves in the arid interior of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Indago 32: 81-98 - get paper here
  • CONRADIE, WERNER; WILLIAM R. BRANCH, & GILLIAN WATSON 2019. Type specimens in the Port Elizabeth Museum, South Africa, including the historically important Albany Museum collection. Part 2: Reptiles (Squamata). Zootaxa 4576 (1): 001–045 - get paper here
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  • Cuvier, G. J. L. N. F. D. 1829. Le Regne Animal Distribué, d'apres son Organisation, pur servir de base à l'Histoire naturelle des Animaux et d'introduction à l'Anatomie Comparé. Nouvelle Edition [second edition]. Vol. 2. Les Reptiles. Déterville, Paris, i-xvi, 1-406 - get paper here
  • Diedericks, Genevieve; Savel R. Daniels 2013. Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough? Phylogeography of the rupicolous Cape girdled lizard (Cordylus cordylus) reveals a generalist pattern. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution - get paper here
  • Essex, R. 1925. Descriptions of two new species of the genus Acontias and notes on some other lizards found in the Cape Province. Rec. Albany Mus. 3: 332-342.
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  • Gray, J. E. 1838. Catalogue of the slender-tongued saurians, with descriptions of many new genera and species. Part 3. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (1) 1: 388-394 - get paper here
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  • Linnaeus, C. [= Linné, C. von] 1758. Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Laurentii Salvii, Holmiæ. 10th Edition: 824 pp. - get paper here
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  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. 1985. Comments on the Cordylus cordylus complex in the Southwestern Cape. J. Herp. Assoc. Africa 31: 16-18. - get paper here
  • Mouton, P. le Fras N. 1987. Phenotypic variation among populations of Cordylus cordylus (Reptilia: Cordylidae) in the south-western Cape Province, South Africa. South African J Zoology 22 (2): 119-129. - get paper here
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  • MOUTON, P. LE FRAS N.; DAHNÉ A. JANSE VAN RENSBURG and JOHANNES H. VAN WYK 2010. Epidermal glands in cordylid lizards, with special reference to generation glands. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 158: 312–324. - get paper here
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  • Reeves, B., Brooke, C. F., Venter, J. A., & Conradie, W. 2022. The Reptiles and Amphibians of the Mpofu-Fort Fordyce Nature Reserve Complex in the Winterberg Mountains, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. African Journal of Wildlife Research, 52(1) - get paper here
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