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Ctenotus halysis HORNER, 2009

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Chained Ctenotus 
SynonymCtenotus halysis HORNER 2009
Ctenotus halysis — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (N Western Australia: E Kimberley region)

Type locality: Cuckoo Hill, Doongan Station, Kimberley region, Western Australia, 15°23’18”S 126°20’15”E.  
TypesHolotype: WAM R166157, an adult male, collected by J. Reside on 10 August 2006. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A moderately small member (SVL to 58.5 mm) of the C. atlas species group, distinguished from congeners by having three of four supraoculars in contact with frontal, frontoparietals paired, eight supralabials, laterally compressed toes with callose subdigital lamellae, prominent pale mid-lateral stripe, black ground colour with ten or more pale stripes on body, dark vertebral stripe, dark upper lateral zone patterned with longitudinal series of narrow pale streaks. 
CommentHabitat: under rocks in woodland over grasses; sandy loam/gravel among low rocky hills, primarily in rocky areas with a sparse cover of spinifex (Triodia) and Snappy gums (Eucalyptus brevifolia).

Comparison with other species Ctenotus halysis sp. nov. is distinguished from most congeners by being medium sized, having compressed digits, callose subdigital lamellae and a simple body pattern of dark ground colour with 10–12 whitish longitudinal stripes. In combination, these characters place it in the C. atlas species-group (Table 3). Distinguished from most species-group co-members by distribution and body pattern. Only C. d. decaneurus, C. d. yampiensis, C. piankai and C. vagus sp. nov. share a Kimberley region distribution and only C. xenopleura shares ten pale stripes and a spotted upper lateral zone. Further distinguished from C. ariadnae, C. atlas, C. duricola, C. iapetus, C. piankai, C. quattuordecimlineatus, C. storri, and C. zastictus by having nasal scales in contact rather than separated. From C. d. decaneurus and C. d. yampiensis by having more ciliary scales (12 instead of 10 or less), more supradigital scales over the fourth toe (18 instead of 15) and a deeper head (51.3% of SVL instead of 50.0% or less). From C. impar by having a dark (instead of pale) vertebral stripe, from C. rawlinsoni by having more ciliary scales (10–12 instead of 8–9) and fewer ear lobules (4–5 instead of 7–8) and from C. vagus sp. nov. by more midbody scale rows (usually 30 instead of 26). From C. dux by having fewer pale stripes (12 instead of 18 or more), more supraciliary scales (8 instead of 7) and separated nasal scales (instead of usually in contact). From C. xenopleura by having more supralabial (8 instead of 7), supraciliary (8 instead of 7) and ciliary scales (12 instead of 9), and by having 2 or 3 narrow pale lateral stripes rather than 1 or 2 broad stripes. Ctenotus halysis sp. nov. is most easily confused with C. alacer but is distinguished by having fewer paravertebral scale rows (59 instead of 70) and fourth toe subdigital lamellae (22 instead of 29), more supraciliary scales (8 instead of 7) and a narrower head (60.2% instead of 64.6% of head length). Further differs by having one or two distinct pale lower lateral stripes rather than a blotched or immaculate lower lateral zone and having a slender series of upper lateral pale streaks and spots instead of large elongate spots and blotches.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014) 
EtymologyFrom the Greek noun halysis, meaning chain; in reference to the chain-like string of upper lateral streaks prominent in this taxon. 
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Horner, P. 2009. Three new species of Ctenotus (Reptilia: Sauria: Scincidae) from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, with comments on the status of Ctenotus decaneurus yampiensis. Rec. West. Austr. Mus. 25 (2): 181-199 - get paper here
  • Singhal, Sonal; Huateng Huang, Maggie R. Grundler, María R. Marchán-Rivadeneira, Iris Holmes, Pascal O. Title, Stephen C. Donnellan, and Daniel L. Rabosky 2018. Does Population Structure Predict the Rate of Speciation? A Comparative Test across Australia’s Most Diverse Vertebrate Radiation. The American Naturalist - get paper here
  • Wilson, S. & Swan, G. 2010. A complete guide to reptiles of Australia, 3rd ed. Chatswood: New Holland, 558 pp.
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