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Ctenotus mesotes HORNER, 2009

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Higher TaxaScincidae, Sphenomorphinae, Scincoidea, Sauria, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Median-striped Ctenotus 
SynonymCtenotus mesotes HORNER 2009
Ctenotus mesotes — WILSON & SWAN 2010 
DistributionAustralia (N Western Australia: CN coast of the Kimberley region)

Type locality: Truscott, Kimberley region, Western Australia, 14°06’07”S 126°24’01”E.  
TypesHolotype: WAM R165943, adult female. Collected by P. Doughty and C. Stevenson on 11 August 2006. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: A very small member (SVL to 41.5 mm) of the C. schomburgkii species-group, distinguished from congeners by having three of four supraoculars in contact with frontal, two presuboculars, frontoparietals paired, laterally compressed toes with finely keeled subdigital lamellae, nasals in contact, 2–3 ear lobules with uppermost largest, usually 30 midbody scale rows, usually 14 subdigital lamellae under fourth finger, mean hindlimb length of 48.1% of SVL and a complex body pattern of stripes and spots, with dark stripes terminating at the rump.
CommentHabitat: tall woodland

Comparison with other species: Ctenotus mesotes sp. nov. is distinguished from most congeners by being very small in size, having compressed digits, finely keeled subdigital lamellae, dark upper lateral zones enclosing numerous pale spots and a dorsal pattern dominated by longitudinal stripes. In combination, these characters place it among the ten members of the C. schomburgkii species- group (Table 3). From most species-group co-members it may be distinguished by details of body pattern and disjunct distribution. The broad pale vertebral stripe of C. mesotes sp. nov. is unique within the species-group and only C. pallescens and C. tantillus share a Kimberley region distribution. Further distinguished from C. allotropis and both subspecies of C. strauchii by having more midbody scale rows (30 instead of 28), fourth toe subdigital lamellae (22 instead of 20 or less) and longer hindlimbs (48% instead of 45% or less of SVL). From C. brooksi, C. euclae and C. taeniatus by having more midbody scale rows (30 instead of 26 or less), presubocular scale present (rather than absent), prefrontal shields separated instead of usually in contact and smaller maximum size (41.5 instead of 50.5 mm or more). From C. pallescens and C. schomburgkii by having more midbody scale rows (30 instead of 28 or less) and nasal scales in contact instead of separate. Also distinguished from C. pallescens by having more supraciliary scales (8 instead of 7). Ctenotus mesotes sp. nov. is most easily confused with C. tantillus, but is distinguished by having more midbody scale rows (30 instead of 28), fewer infralabial scales (6 instead of 7), more ciliary scales (10 instead of 9) and fourth finger subdigital lamellae (14 instead of 12), longer hindlimbs (48.1% instead of 44.8% of SVL) and by usually having nasal scales in narrow instead of broad contact.

Limb morphology: 5 digits, 5 toes (Singhal et al. 2018, Cogger 2014) 
EtymologyFrom the Greek adjective mesotês, meaning a middle or central position; in reference to the prominent pale vertebral stripe that features 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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