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Diploderma flavilabre WANG, CHE & SILER, 2020

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Yellow-lipped Mountain Dragon
Chinese: 黄唇龙蜥 (Pinyin: Huang Chun Long Xi) 
SynonymDiploderma flavilabre WANG, CHE & SILER in WANG et al. 2020: 242
Japalura flaviceps — ZHAO et al. 1999: 111 (part)
Japalura flaviceps — ZHAO 2003: 84 (part) 
DistributionChina (NW Sichuan: Baiyu County, E Tibet: Markam County)

Type locality: Yebatan, Gaiyu County, northwest Sichuan Province, China (98.9642° E, 30.7385° N, elevation 2,845 m, WGS 84).  
ReproductionOviparous. All observed females, including ones that were collected, were gravid, suggesting June is during the breeding season of the species (Wang et al. 2021) 
TypesHolotype: KIZ 032693, adult male collected on May 28, 2017
Paratypes: KIZ 032692, 032694, adult males; KIZ 032695–032699, KIZ 032730, adult females; all collected from the same locality as the holotype by Kai WANG and Gadeng NIMA. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The new species can be diagnosed from congeners by a combination of the following morphological characteristics: (1) body size small, SVL 50.8–55.2 mm in males, 64.2–72.9 mm in females; (2) tail short, TAL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%–152.2% in females; (3) head wide, HW 70.01%–73.0% HL, HD 68.6%–75.5% HW; (4) hind limb short, HLL 66.9%–74.8% SVL in males, 61.7%–63.9% in females; (5) tympanum concealed; (6) transverse gular fold present, deep; (7) MD 39–43; (8) F4S 13–16; (9) T4S 19–22; (10) post-rictal conical scales well-developed, 4–9; (11) nuchal and dorsal crest well-developed with strong skin folds in males only; (12) ventral head scales smooth or feebly keeled; (13) ventral body scales distinctively keeled; (14) inner lips Dark Spectrum Yellow (Color 78) in both sexes in life, distinct from background coloration of oral cavity; (15) background coloration of oral cavity Light Flesh Color (Color 250) in life; (16) palate and tonsils speckled heavily with Light Neutral Gray (Color 297) in both sexes in life; (17) gular spots present in both sexes, Pale Emerald Green (Color 141) to Light Turquoise Green (Color 146) in life; and (18) ventral body Pale Greenish Yellow (Color 86) in live males (Wang et al. 2021).

Comparisons: The new species was confused with D. flavicpes, but it can be distinguished from D. flaviceps readily by having a much smaller adult body size in males (SVL 50.8–55.2 mm versus 68.5–82.1 mm), a relatively shorter tail (TAL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%– 152.2% in females versus 181.8%–210.8% in males, 191.5%–205.7% in females), distinct coloration of inner lips (dark spectrum yellow coloration versus same as rest of oral cavity, flesh color), as well as by the presence of gular spots in both sexes (versus absence), presence of distinct radial stripes around eyes (versus faint or absence), presence of distinct dark spectrum yellow along inner lips in both sexes (versus absence), absence of reticulated dark patterns on gular region (versus presence), and by the absence of hallow, brown rhombshaped patterns with distinct yellow centers along dorsal midline (versus presence). Diploderma flavilabre is morphologically most similar to D. batangense and D. vela, with all three species possessing distinct black radial stripes around eyes, blackish dorsal background coloration, and raised nuchal and dorsal crests on skin folds in males. However, the new species can be differentiated from both D. batangense and D. vela by having a distinct coloration color of inner lips in life for both sexes (Dark Spectrum Yellow [Color 78] versus flesh color, same as the rest of oral cavity) and the tendency toward a relatively shorter tail (ANOVA p = .031; T AL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%–152.2% in females versus 187.3%–206.5% in males, 171.8%–203.1% in females for D. batangense [Tukey's HSD p = .041]; 174.6%–238.1% in males, 159.8%– 202.7% in females for D. vela [Tukey's HSD p = .034]). In addition, it differs from D. batangense by having more post-rictal modified conical or sub-pyramidal scales (4–9 versus 0–3); and from D. vela by having a relatively wider head (HW 70.1%–73.0% HL versus 65.2%–69.8%), discontinuous skin folds between nuchal and dorsal sections in males (versus continuous), distinct coloration of dorsolateral stripes in females (Sulphur Yellow [Color 80] versus Medium Chrome Orange [Color 75]), and by the presence of gular spots in both sexes (versus absence). For remaining closely distributed congeners in the northern HMR, the new species can be differentiated from all species by the distinct dark spectrum yellow coloration of inner lips in life for both sexes (versus same flesh color as the rest of oral cavity). Furthermore, it can be differentiated from D. brevicaudum by the presence of distinct gular spots in both sexes after preservation (versus absence); from D. laeviventre and D. drunkdaypo by having distinctively keeled ventral head and body scales (versus smooth or feebly keeled); from D. slowinskii by a smaller body size (SVL 50.8– 55.2 mm in males, 64.2–72.9 mm in females versus 81.0–95.5 mm in males, 74.8–91.7 mm in females) and a concealed tympanum (versus exposed); from D. yulongense by having a much shorter tail (TAL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%–152.2% in females versus 211.3%–247.6% in males, 182.1%–227.3% in females), as well as by the absence of greenish ventrolateral patches of body (versus presence); and from D. iadinum b y t he d istinct b ody c oloration in males (Jet Black [Color 300] background coloration of dorsal body, with Pale Horn Color [Color 11] dorsolateral stripes versus Yellowish Spectrum Green [Color 128] to Emerald Green [Color 143] background coloration, with same colored dorsolateral stripes), shape of dorsolateral stripes in males (strongly jagged versus smooth-edged), and fewer dorsolateral ridges on body in females (1 versus 2 or 3). For the remaining recognized congeners, in addition to the differential Dark Spectrum Yellow (Color 78) coloration of inner lips (versus same coloration as in the oral cavity), the new species differs from D. varcoae, D. dymondi, and D. swild, by having a concealed tympanum (versus exposed); from D. chapaense, D. grahami, D. micangshanense, D. yunnanense, and all island species (D. brevipes, D. luei, D. makii, D. polygonatum, and D. swinhonis) by having a distinct transverse gular fold (versus absence or feeble); from D. fasciatum by the absence of single hourglass-shaped pattern on the mid-dorsum (versus presence); from D. splendidum by much smaller adult body size (SVL 50.8–55.2 mm in males, 64.2–72.9 mm in females versus >80.0 mm in both sexes) and much shorter tail (TAL < 180.0% SVL in males, <153.0% in females versus >200% in both sexes); and from D. zhaoermii by a smaller adult body size in males (SVL < 55.2 mm versus > 64 mm) and more T4S (T4S 19–22 versus 23–27). Lastly, for the other new species described here, D. flavilabre differs from all by the differential coloration of inner lips (versus same coloration as rest of the oral cavity). Specifically, it differs from D. angustelineaby having a relatively shorter tail (TAL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%–152.2% in females versus 230.2%–249.1% in males, 194.3%–222.3% in females), more and better developed conical or sub-pyramidal post-rictal scales (4–9 versus 0–3), distinct coloration of gular spots (Pale Emerald Green [Color 141] versus Spectrum Yellow [Color 79]), wider and strongly jagged dorsolateral stripes (versus narrow, weakly jagged or smooth), as well as by the presence of raised, well-developed nuchal and dorsal crests on skin folds in males (versus absence); and from D. aorunby having a smaller body size in males (SVL 50.8–55.2 mm versus 58.4–61.2), a shorter tail (TAL 149.7%–179.3% SVL in males, 140.2%–152.2% in females versus 212.0%–221.1% in males, 191.4%–207.7% in females), shorter hind limbs (HLL 66.9%– 74.8% in males, 62.0%–65.6% in females versus 73.7%–82.7% in males, 71.8%–80.5% in females), and a distinct gular coloration (Pale Emerald Green [Color 141] versus Pale Cyan [Color 157] to Light Caribbean Blue [Color 163]) (Wang et al. 2021).

Color in life: The background of the anterior part of dorsal head is white to Smoky White (Color 261). A single V-shaped, Jet Black (Color 300) patterns on the dorsal anterior snout, with its branches terminate on the nasal scales, and the root terminates at the posterior edge of the first enlarged, keeled scale of the Y-shaped ridge on the snout. Three Orange-Rufous (Color 56) transverse bands with distinct Dark Neutral Gray (Color 299) edges are present on the dorsal surface of head, where the first one is short and centered on the dorsal snout between the anterior borders of orbit circle. The background coloration of the temporal region of the head is Smoky Gray (Color 266), with irregular ornamentation patterns of Ducky Brown (Color 285) to Jet Black (Color 300). Lateral surface of head is white to Light Buff (Color 2). Distinct Jet Black (Color 300) radial stripes are around the eyes, eight and nine on each side. Of these radial stripes, three stripes are below eyes in subocular and loreal regions, and all of them continue to extend to lower jaw. The two posteriorly directed stripes from the posterior corner of each eye (one extending slightly dorsally, the other extending slightly ventrally) are the broadest among all, where the ventrally extending one terminated at the anterior end of tympanic region. The inner surfaces of both upper and lower lips, as well as corners of the mouth, are Dark Spectrum Yellow (Color 78). The tongue and gum are uniform Light Flesh Color (Color 250), whereas the palate and tonsils are speckled heavily with Light Neutral Gray (Color 297). Background coloration of the dorsal surface of the body is Jet Black (Color 300). A distinct Pale Horn Color (Color 11), zigzag- shaped, dorsolateral stripe is present on each side of the vertebral crest, running from neck to pelvis, sympatric to each other along the vertebral line. The pointy edges of the jagged dorsolateral stripe extend dorsally and almost connect with the symmetric edges from the other side at the dorsal midline. As the individual become stressed or when it was basking, the coloration of dorsolateral stripes may become dirty with pale Salmon Color (Color 58). A total of six solid, dark patches are present along the dorsal midline between two dorsolateral stripes from neck to vent, which are Mahogany Red (Color 34) in the center and gradually transition to Jet Black (Color 300). Except the first and the fourth patches, which are in rectangular and irregular shape, respectively, the remaining four dark patches are in rhomb shape. Irregular light spots of white to Pale Pinkish Buff (Color 3) coloration are scattered inferior to the dorsolateral stripe on each side. Those light spots become larger and longer as moving toward ventral direction, which separates the background Jet Black (Color 300) coloration into thin reticulated patterns on ventrolateral sides of body. Dorsal surfaces of limbs are Jet Black (Color 300). Distinct Pale Buff (Color 1) to Pale Pinkish Buff (Color 3) transverse bands are present on dorsal limbs, evenly scattered from proximal to distal end. Similar transverse bands are also present on dorsal surfaces of limb digits. A white, narrow stripe is present from the base of thigh to the knee joint on the posterior ventrolateral side of hind limb on each side. The background coloration of the ventral surface of the head is white. A relatively large, two-centered arch-shaped, gular spot is present on the posterior central region of the ventral head, Pale Emerald Green (Color 141) in coloration. Jet Black (Color 300) vermiculated stripes are present on the remaining areas of ventral head outside of the gular spot. Ventral surface of neck and the very anterior portion of the ventral surface of the chest are also Pale Emerald Green (Color 141) as in the gular spot. This Pale Emerald Green coloration gradually fades into Pale Greenish Yellow (Color 86) as moving posteriorly to the chest and abdomen; and coloration continues to fade, where it eventually becomes Pale Buff (Color 1) at the very posterior portion of the ventral body. No other distinct ornamentation patterns are present on ventral surface of body. Ventral surfaces of limbs are uniform Pale Buff (Color 1), which becomes darker and transitions to Pale Pinkish Buff (Color 3) on ventral hands and feet. Background coloration of the tail is Pale Pinkish Buff (Color 3). Distinct, dark transverse bands are present on dorsal and lateral surfaces of tail, which do not fully enclose the tail on the ventral side. Coloration of transverse bands changes from Medium Neutral Gray (Color 298) at the proximal end to Salmon Color (Color 58) at the distal end (Wang et al. 2021). 
CommentConservation: The type locality of D. flavilabre is less than five km away from the biggest hydropower station in the upper Jinsha River, the Yebatan Hydropower Station, which was under active construction at the time of collection in 2017. Several habitat destructions were observed at the time, with explosions and drainage alterations. No lizards were found close to the construction site, and population density was much lower than any other new species described here. Furthermore, the recent major landslide and subsequent flooding in 2018 might have led to further massive habitat destructions and population decline of the new species. Because we did not find any D. flavilabre near Baiyu Township, which is approximately 60km linear distance north of the type locality of D. flavilabre, the potential distribution range of the new species is only less than 140km linear distance of low-elevation habitats along a single, isolated river valley, and the estimated extent of occurrence is less than 400 km2. Given the endemic nature and limited range, fragile ecosystem where the species inhabits, and several, continuous habitat destructions from both natural and anthropogenic causes, we propose to list the species as Vulnerable (VU) based on IUCN criteria D2.

Publication date: The online publication time for the manuscript that describe the species (December 2020) is earlier than the publication time of the entire issue of the journal (January 2021), which is why the taxonomic authority is 2020 instead of 2021. 
EtymologyThe Latin species name, flavilabre, means “yellow-lipped,” which describes the diagnostic dark spectrum yellow coloration of inner lips of the species. 
  • Wang, K., Ren, J. L., Jiang, K., Wu, J. W., Yang, C. H., Xu, H. M., ... & Che, J. 2019. Revised distributions of some species in the genus Diploderma (Reptilia: Agamidae) in China. Sichuan J. Zool, 38(5), 481-495
  • Wang, K., Ren, J., Wu, J., Jiang, K., Jin, J., Hou, S., ... & Che, J. 2020. Systematic revision of mountain dragons (Reptilia: Agamidae: Diploderma) in China, with descriptions of six new species and discussion on their conservation. Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research, 59(1), 222-263 (published online 2020)
  • WANG, Kai; , Ke JIANG, Gang PAN, Mian HOU, Cameron D. SILER and Jing CHE 2015. A New Species of Japalura (Squamata: Sauria: Agamidae) from Upper Lancang (Mekong) Valley of Eastern Tibet, China. Asian Herpetological Research 6 (3): 159–168 - get paper here
  • Wang, Kai; Jing Che, Simin Lin, V Deepak, Datta-Roy Aniruddha, Ke Jiang, Jieqiong Jin, Hongman Chen, Cameron D Siler; 2018. Multilocus phylogeny and revised classification for mountain dragons of the genus Japalura s.l. (Reptilia: Agamidae: Draconinae) from Asia. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, , zly034, - get paper here
  • WANG, Kai; Ke JIANG, Da-Hu ZOU, Fang YAN, Cameron D. SILER, Jing CHE 2016. Two new species of Japalura (Squamata: Agamidae) from the Hengduan Mountain Range, China. Zoological Research 37(1): 41-56, DOI: 10.13918/j.issn.2095-8137.2016.1.41 - get paper here
  • Zhao E. M., Zhao K., Zhou K. Y. 1999. Fauna Sinica, Reptilia, Vol. 2, Squamata, Lacertilia. [In Chinese] Beijing: Science Press, 394 pp
  • Zhao, E & Yang, D. 1997. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Hengduan Mountain Region. [in Chinese] Science Press, Beijing, 303 pp.
  • Zhao, E. (ed.) 2003. Coloured atlas of Sichuan reptiles [in Chinese]. Beijing, China Forestry Publishing House
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