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Ctenotus inornatus (GRAY, 1845)

IUCN Red List - Ctenotus inornatus - Least Concern, LC

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Bar-shouldered Ctenotus 
SynonymHinulia inornata GRAY 1845: 78
Ctenotus inornatus — STORR 1975: 221
Ctenotus inornatus — COGGER 1983: 148
Minervascincus inornatus — WELLS & WELLINGTON 1985: 35
Ctenotus inornatus — COGGER 2000: 429
Ctenotus inornatus — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (Northern Territory,Queensland,Western Australia)

Type locality: Swan River, W. A. (in error) fide Storr (1970)  
TypesHolotype: BMNH 1946.8.15.45
Holotype: WAM R24239 [saxatilis]
Holotype: WAM R25680 [severus]
Holotype: WAM R30004 [helenae]
Holotype: WAM R33780 [fallens]
Holotype: NMV D13944 [brachyonyx] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: in Rabosky et al. 2014.

Diagnosis (inornatus): “A member of the lesueurii group, inornatus sub-group, with conspicuous white dorsolateral line but other elements of pattern tending to disappear with age, especially dark vertebral stripe (which may be absent or reduced to a line on nape and fore-back). Further distinguishable from robustus by more numerous labials (usually 8 vs usually 7), fewer nuchals (usually 2 or 3 vs 3 or 4), and third supraciliary usually much smaller than second.”(Storr 1975: 221)

Description (inornatus): “Snout-vent length (mm): 29-95 (70.0). Length of appendages (% SVL): foreleg 19-33 (24.4), hindleg 33-54 (42.0), tail 180-298 (231).
Nasals usually separated, occasionally in short contact. Prefrontals forming a median suture (occasionally just touching or very narrowly separated). Supraoculars normally 4, first 3 in contact with frontal, first much narrower than second and occasionally fused to it. Supraciliaries 7-11, mostly 8 or 9 (8.8), third (rarely fourth) to penultimate much smaller than others and often hidden by moderately strong brow. Palpebrals 9-14 (11.1). Second loreal 0.8-1.9 (1.24) times as wide as high. Upper labials 8 (rarely 7 or 9). Ear lobules 3-7 (5.2), usually obtuse in juveniles and subacute in adults. Nuchals usually 2 or 3, occasionally 4, rarely 1, mean 2.6. Midbody scale rows 26-35 (31.6). Lamellae under fourth toe 16-26 (20.9), slightly compressed and widely callose.
Head and back moderately dark brown or olive brown, becoming pale on distal half of tail. Blackish vertebral stripe variably but usually poorly developed, e.g. absent or represented by a line on nape and fore-back or a faint narrow stripe from nape to base of tail with little or no indication of pale edge. Narrow white dorsolateral stripe extending forward to or nearly to level of ear aperture and backward to base of tail (on which it becomes browner and wider), narrowly and indistinctly margined above with blackish. Indistinct whitish or pale grey midlateral stripe of variable width and discernibility, becoming wider, browner and dark-edged on tail. Remainder of sides brown, flecked or mottled with greyish white and blackish brown.” (Storr 1975: 221) 
CommentSynonymy: Rabosky et al. (2014) found no genetic pattern that differentiated inornatus from helenae, saxatilis, serverus, fallens, or brachyonyx and thus synonymized them with inornatus. Similarly, Prates et al. (2023) presented a more detailed genetic analysis within the complex but refrained from taxonomic recommendations, given the frequent paraphylies and thus unresolved taxonomic issues.

Habitat: Triodia sandplains and flat rocky areas (Shea et al., 1988).

Behavior: The species is active during the day and terrestrial (Shea et al. 1988).

NCBI tax IDs: saxatilis = 480777 (Reptile Database ID = 12842), severus = 480783 (12848), helenae = 480746 (12802), fallens = 480739 (12794), brachyonyx = no NCBI (12778). Note that NCBI tax IDs are not preserved once species get synonymized. If any of them get revalidated they will get new NCBI IDs.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014) 
  • Barr, J; Somaweera, R & Bateman, P W 2018. Ctenotus fallens (West Coast Ctenotus) Anomalous death through use of modelling clay for research. Herpetological Review 49 (2): 327-328 - get paper here
  • Cogger, H. G. 2014. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 7th ed. CSIRO Publishing, xxx + 1033 pp. - get paper here
  • Cogger, H.G. 2000. Reptiles and Amphibians of Australia, 6th ed. Ralph Curtis Publishing, Sanibel Island, 808 pp.
  • Couper, P., Covacevich, J., Amey, A. & Baker, A. 2006. The genera of skinks (Family Scincidae) of Australia and its island territories: diversity, distribution and identification. in: Merrick, J.R., Archer, M., Hickey, G.M. & Lee, M.S.Y. (eds.). Evolution and Zoogeography of Australasian Vertebrates. Australian Scientific Publishing, Sydney, pp. 367-384
  • D'Amore, Domenic Corvasce; David Meadows, Simon Clulow, Jeremiah Sean Doody, David Rhind, Colin McHenry 2018. Increasing dietary breadth through allometry: bite forces in sympatric Australian skinks. Herpetology Notes 11: 179-187 - get paper here
  • Even,Eddy 2005. Reptielen zoeken in Australië. Lacerta 63 (2): 48-65 - get paper here
  • Glauert, L. 1952. Herpetological miscellanea. l. Notes of some forms of Diplodactylus. Some new western Australian lizards. Western Australian Naturalist 3: 166—168 [1951] - get paper here
  • Gray, J. E. 1845. Catalogue of the specimens of lizards in the collection of the British Museum. Trustees of die British Museum/Edward Newman, London: xxvii + 289 pp. - get paper here
  • Hallermann, J. 2020. An annotated list of reptiles and amphibians from the 1905 Hamburg expedition to southwest Australia deposited in the Zoological Museum Hamburg. Evolutionary Systematics 4: 61 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1969. Sympatry of desert lizards (Ctenotus) in Western Australia. Ecology 50: 1012-1030 - get paper here
  • Pianka, E. R. 1972. Zoogeography and speciation of Australian desert lizards: an ecological perspective. Copeia 1972 (1): 127-144 - get paper here
  • Prates, I., Hutchinson, M. N., Singhal, S., Moritz, C., & Rabosky, D. L. 2023. Notes from the taxonomic disaster zone: Evolutionary drivers of intractable species boundaries in an Australian lizard clade (Scincidae: Ctenotus). Molecular Ecology, 00, 1–25
  • Punzo, Fred & Sonia Madragon 2002. Spatial learning in Australian skinks of the genus Ctenotus (Scincidae). Amphibia-Reptilia 23 (2): 233-238 - get paper here
  • Rabosky DL, Hutchinson MN, Donnellan SC, Talaba AL, Lovette IJ 2014. Phylogenetic disassembly of species boundaries in a widespread group of Australian skinks (Scincidae: Ctenotus). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 77: 71-82; doi: 10.1016/j.ympev.2014.03.026 - get paper here
  • Rankin P R; Gillam M W 1979. A new lizard in the genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) from the Northern Territory with notes on its biology. Rec. Austral. Mus. 32 (15): 501-511 - get paper here
  • Sadlier, Ross 1987. The scincid lizard Ctenotus brachyonyx Storr in N.S.W. Herpetofauna (Sydney) 17 (1-2): 22-24
  • 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
  • Storr G M 1969. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Eastern Division of Western Australia. J. Royal Soc. Western Australia 51: 97-109 - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1970. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Northern Territory. J. Royal Soc. Western Australia 52: 97-108 [1969] - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1978. Notes on the Ctenotus (Lacertilia, Scincidae) of Queensland. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6 (3): 319-332 - get paper here
  • Storr G M 1978. Ctenotus rubicundus, a new scincid lizard from Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 6 (3): 333-335 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1971. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in South Australia. Rec. South Austral. Mus. 16 (6): 1-15 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M. 1974. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the South-west and Eucla Divisions of Western Australia. J R. Soc. West. Aust. 56: 86-93 [1973]
  • Storr, G. M. 1975. The genus Ctenotus (Lacertilia: Scincidae) in the Kimberley and North-west Divisions of Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 3: 209-243 - get paper here
  • Storr, G. M., Smith, L. A. & Johnstone, R. E. 1981. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Perth: University of Western Australia Press and Western Australian Museum, 200 pp.
  • Storr, G. M.; L. A. Smith, and R. E. Johnstone 1999. Lizards of Western Australia. I. Skinks. Revised Edition. Western Australian Museum
  • Swan, G.; Sadlier, R.; Shea, G. 2017. A field guide to reptiles of New South Wales. Reed New Holland, 328 pp.
  • Virens, Josef; Robert A Davis, Tim S Doherty 2017. Two records of amelanism in the Australian skink Ctenotus fallens (Storr, 1974). Herpetology Notes 10: 453-455 - 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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