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Ctenotus kutjupa HUTCHINSON, PRATES & RABOSKY, 2022

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae (Sphenomorphini), Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Subspecies 
Common Names 
SynonymCtenotus kutjupa HUTCHINSON, PRATES & RABOSKY in PRATES et al. 2022 
DistributionAustralia (Western Australia, Northern Territory, South Australia).

Type locality: 5.3 km SSE of the Pungkulpirri Waterhole, Western Australia, Australia (24° 42’ 26” S, 128° 45’ 37” E).  
Reproduction 
TypesHolotype: WAM R166437 (GenBank accession KJ506010; Sequence Read Archive accession SRX2727531), collected by S. C. Donnellan, P. Doughty, and M. Hutchinson on 22 September 2006.
Paratypes: SAMA R18215, 40 km SSW of Wyola Lake, SA, 29° 30’ 00” S, 130° 08’ 00” E; R36119, 1 km down Giles Rd, Yulara Townsite, NT, 25° 14’ 00” S, 131° 12’ 00” E; R46128–29, 27 km NE of Pipalyatjara, SA, 26° 02’ 58” S, 129° 24’ 39” E; R48782, 6.6 km WNW of Mt Lindsay (Wataru), SA, 27° 03’ 39” S, 129° 49’ 45” E; R51751, Anne Beadell Highway, 11.2 km E Vokes Hill Corner, SA, 28° 33’ 42” S, 130° 47’ 40” E; SAMA R62233, from the Anne Beadell Highway, 300 m E of the WA-SA border, SA, 28° 30’ 28” S, 129° 00’ 17” E; R62176 (GenBank accession KJ505036), 3 km SE Mt Ant, WA, 24° 46’ 57” S, 128° 46’ 44” E; R62312–13, Anne Beadell Highway, 26.3 km E of the WA-SA border, SA, 28° 30’ 24” S, 129° 15’ 43” E. NTM R14234, Amata Rd (site 5), Uluru National Park, NT, 25° 20’ 00” S, 130° 47’ 00” E; R17505–10, Uluru National Park, NT, 25° 15’ 00” S, 131° 00’ 00” E; R32339, Petermann Ranges, NT, 25° 01’ 00” S, 129° 23’ 00” E; R36149, SE of Reedy Rockhole, Kings Canyon, NT, 24° 15’ 00” S, 131° 34’ 00” E. WAM R51077, 22 km NE White Cliffs HS, 28° 20’ 00” S, 123° 06’ 00” E; R53490, Red Hill, 92 km E of Laverton, 28° 18’ 00” S, 123° 11’ 00” E; R85273, 85297, 4 km ESE of Big Shot Bore, 28° 24’ 00” S, 123° 04’ 00” E; R147767, 7–8 km WNW Point Salvation, 28° 12’ 00” S, 123° 35’ 00” E; R155723, 7–8 km WNW Point Salvation, 28° 14’ 00” S, 123°36’ 00” E; R163450, Neale Junction, 28° 18’ 09” S, 126° 17’ 57” E; R164231 (GenBank accession OM966792), Mina Mina, Clutterbuck Hills, Gibson Desert, 24° 31’ 01” S, 126° 12’ 46” E; R164237 (GenBank accession OM966793), Mina Mina, Clutterbuck Hills, Gibson Desert, 24° 31’ 06” S, 126° 13’ 12” E; R175023, Beyondie Lakes, Little Sandy Desert, 24° 43’ 44” S, 120° 17’ 46” E. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A small species of Ctenotus, characterized by the unique combination of sharp-edged and spinose subdigital lamellae, a presubocular scale between the lower preocular and the subocular supralabial, and prefrontal and nasal head shields usually in medial contact. The color pattern typically includes seven narrow dark dorsal stripes, including a vertebral stripe that becomes more prominent on the (unbroken) tail and runs almost the full length of the tail in most individuals. The new species is further characterized by the combination of a dark upper lateral zone with a single series of large pale spots with an ascending series of black and whitish blotches that curve dorsally behind the eye. (HUTCHINSON et al. 2022)

Comparisons: Taxa morphologically similar to the new species are all members of the C. schomburgkii species group, established and expanded by Storr (Storr 1969, 1971, 1981). Species in this group are small Ctenotus with keeled and spinose subdigital lamellae, a dorsal pattern including longitudinal lines, and a lateral pattern including spots or bars.
The new taxon is superficially most similar to C. schomburgkii, with which it has been confused. However, C. kutjupa is distinguished from C. schomburgkii by having seven well-defined dark dorsal stripes (versus five in C. schomburgkii) where both co-occur. This is due to the presence (in C. kutjupa) of two median paravertebral stripes that run down the midline of each of the paravertebral scale rows. Ctenotus kutjupa is further distinguished from C. schomburgkii by having prefrontals and nasals usually in strong medial contact (versus rarely so for either pair in C. schomburgkii); lack of a strong continuation of the white midlateral stripe along the upper labials (versus continuation present in C. schomburgkii), instead showing a crescentic whitish marking that curves up behind the eye; and by having a dark vertebral stripe that becomes more prominent on the tail and continues for almost all of its length in most individuals (versus a vertebral stripe that fades out on the tail and terminates at about the halfway point in C. schomburgkii). While C. kutjupa appears to attain a smaller maximum body size than C. schomburgkii, meristic and morphometric measurements overlap broadly between the two species. For instance, body size (SVL) ranges 35.5–45.0 mm in C. kutjupa versus 25–52 mm in C. schomburgkii.
The presence of a post-ocular pale crescent marking in C. kutjupa resembles members of the C. brooksi complex (Hutchinson et al. 2006), but C. kutjupa differs from them by the presence of a presubocular scale between the lower preocular and the subocular supralabial and the seven-striped dorsal pattern (versus five dark stripes in strongly marked C. taeniatus and C. euclae). (HUTCHINSON et al. 2022)

Description: Adult snout-vent length (mm) 35.5–45.0, (x̄ = 39.7, n = 24). Smallest individual 28.0 mm. Tail length (%SVL) 143–192 (x̄ = 160.1, n = 16). Hind limb length (% SVL) 42.1–50.0 (x̄ = 45.3). Head length (%SVL) 20.0–24.7 (x̄ = 22.8, n = 30). Head length/head width (%) 143–183 (x̄ = 158.9, n = 30). Nasals in point to broad medial contact (2 of 30 narrowly separated). Prefrontals usually in point to broad medial contact (4 of 30 narrowly separated). Supraoculars four, first three in contact with frontal, second and third subequal. Supraciliaries 7–8 (mode 7), the count depending on whether two or three small supraciliaries separate the initial three from the terminal two. Posterior loreal tapering only slightly anteriorly and less than twice as long as high. Seven supralabials. One rectangular presubocular lies between the lower preocular and the fifth (subocular) supralabial, contacting the fourth supralabial. Ear lobules usually two, obtusely pointed, the lower larger than the upper, or a single large blunt lobule occupies the place of the two. Midbody scale rows 24–28 (x̄ = 26.2, mode 26, n = 30). Toes compressed; 22–26 (x̄ = 23.6, n = 29) lamellae under fourth toe, each forming a laterally compressed, sharp-edged keel with a small apical spine. Plantar scales obtusely pointed, sometimes with two to four scales similar in shape to the subdigital lamellae running on to the plantar surface from the base of the fourth toe. (HUTCHINSON et al. 2022)

Coloration in life: Dorsal background color sandy orange, most individuals with seven black to dark gray longitudinal dorsal stripes. The vertebral stripe, and a laterodorsal and a dorsolateral stripe on each side, are formed by dark pigment in the overlapping corners of adjacent scale rows. A paravertebral stripe on each side is formed by a black line running down the middle of the first scale row. In a few individuals the paravertebral and laterodorsal dark lines are more irregular and may coalesce or braid together. The black dorsolateral stripe forms the dorsal margin of a white dorsolateral stripe that runs down the middle of the third scale row. The white dorsolateral line is bordered below by a blackish upper lateral zone that covers the fourth and fifth scale rows and bears a single series of large pale orange blotches. A mid-lateral white stripe bordered below by black forms the lower boundary of the dark upper lateral zone, which runs from the groin to the ear. Anteriorly to the ear, the white stripe continues to the posterior supralabial or breaks up. The scales of the temporal region have a distinctive crescentic mark that highlights the posteroventral margin of the eye (postsuboculars and adjacent portions of the temporal scale), usually bounded by an ascending series of dark postocular blotches (on the penultimate supralabial, primary temporal and base of the upper secondary temporal), in turn bordered posteriorly by the pale centers of the terminal supralabial, lower secondary temporal and upper secondary temporal. A weak dark zone runs from the preocular scales to the nasal. Vertebral stripe continues along the tail almost its full length, and often becomes wider on the tail before narrowing again distally. Lateral markings merge on the tail into a light-edged dark lateral stripe that also runs most of the length of the tail. Limbs with a blackish reticulum over a sand-orange background. Underside pure white. (HUTCHINSON et al. 2022)

The discovery of specimens of C. kutjupa among collections of C. schomburgkii leads to no significant change to the current diagnosis of the latter taxon. The only new morphological feature introduced is the patterning around the facial region, with a strong white labial stripe and dark posterior orbital margin in C. schomburgkii, compared to the pale postocular crescent and pale and dark postocular patches of C. kutjupa. The seven dark dorsal lines and strongly contacting nasals and prefrontals that differentiate C. kutjupa from C. schomburgkii would have done so even based on the original definition of C. schomburgkii by Storr (Storr 1969, 1970). 
CommentThe discovery of specimens of C. kutjupa among collections of C. schomburgkii leads to no significant change to the current diagnosis of the latter taxon. The only new morphological feature introduced is the patterning around the facial region, with a strong white labial stripe and dark posterior orbital margin in C. schomburgkii, compared to the pale postocular crescent and pale and dark postocular patches of C. kutjupa. The seven dark dorsal lines and strongly contacting nasals and prefrontals that differentiate C. kutjupa from C. schomburgkii would have done so even based on the original definition of C. schomburgkii by Storr (Storr 1969, 1970). 
EtymologyThe word kutjupa, meaning “the other one” or “another one” in its noun form, makes reference to the discovery of the new species among collections of C. schomburgkii. This word, shared by several Western Desert languages (e.g., Maralinga Tjarutja, Yankunytjatjara, Pitjantjatjara, Ngaanyatjarra), acknowledges that this lizard belongs to the country where these languages are spoken. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition to the genus. 
References
  • Prates, Ivan; , Mark N. Hutchinson, Joel A. Huey, Mia J. Hillyer, Daniel L. Rabosky 2022. A new lizard species (Scincidae: Ctenotus) highlights persistent knowledge gaps on the biodiversity of Australia’s central deserts. Bulletin of the SSB 1(2): 8720
 
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