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Diploderma panchi WANG, ZHENG, XIE, CHE & SILER, 2020

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Higher TaxaAgamidae (Draconinae), Sauria, Iguania, Squamata (lizards)
Common NamesE: Panchi Mountain Dragon
Chinese: 蟠螭龙蜥(Pinyin: Pan Chi Long Xi) 
SynonymDiploderma panchi WANG, ZHENG, XIE, CHE & SILER in WANG et al. 2020: 245
Japalura flaviceps — ZHAO et al. 1999: 111
Japalura flaviceps — ZHAO 2003: 84 
DistributionChina (Sichuan: Yajiang County)

Type locality: upper Yalong River Valley near Yajiang Township, Yajiang County, Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, northwest Sichuan Province, China (30.0414° N, 101.0108° E, elevation 2,663 m).
TypesHolotype: KIZ 032715, adult female. Collected by Kai WANG and Nima DADENG in May 22, 2017.
Paratypes: KIZ 032716, 032717, 032729, adult females, same collecting information as for the holotype. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: The new species can be diagnosed from congeners by a combination of the following morphological characteristics: (1) body length moderate SVL 59.6–67.3 mm; (2) tail short TAL/SVL 141.8%–151.5%; (3) hind limbs short HLL/SVL 60.2%–65.8%; (4) head width moderate HW/HL 69.5%–73.6%; (4) MD 42–46; (5) F4S 14–17; (6) T4S 20–24; (7) conical or sub-pyramidal post-rictal scale moderately developed, 3–7; (8) tympanum concealed; (9) nuchal crest feebly developed with no skin folds; (10) transverse gular fold present, distinct; (11) ventral scales of head and body distinctively keeled; (12) ventral head scales and ventrolateral body scales homogeneous in size; (13) distinct gular spots absent in females, but mosaic Light Sulphur Yellow (Color 93) patterns present; (14) dorsolateral stripes strongly jagged, White, Light Buff (Color 2), or Light Sulphur Yellow (91); (15) ventral body uniform Pale Buff (Color 1); and (16) inner lips, oral cavity, and tongue uniform flesh color (Wang et al. 2021).

Comparisons: Because all species of Diploderma are sexually dimorphic, and since we only have females of D. panchi , comparisons are carried out for females only. Diploderma panchi was confused as D. flaviceps, but it can be differentiated from the latter species by having feebly developed nuchal crests with no skin folds in females (versus erected on well-developed skin folds), a relatively shorter tail TAL ≤ 151.0% SVL in females (versus ≥191.5%), as well as by the distinct coloration of gular patterns (Light Sulphur Yellow [Color 93] blotches versus Jet black [Color 300] reticulated stripes), and the absence of dark rhomb-shaped patterns along dorsal midline in females (versus presence). The new species was morphologically most similar to D. brevicaudum and D. drukdaypo, with all three species having a dwarf appearance (i.e., disproportionally short tail and short limbs). However, the new species can be differentiated from D. brevicaudum by having more middorsal scales (MD 42–46 versus 34–40) and the presence of mosaic gular patterns in females (versus absence); and from D. drukdaypo by having distinctively keeled ventral scales (versus smooth or feebly keeled), distinct coloration of dorsolateral stripes (Light Yellow Ocher [Color 13] to Pale Buff [Color 1] versus Medium Chrome Orange [Color 75]), and presence of mosaic gular patterns in females (versus absence). For remaining congeners, D. panchi differs from all by having a much shorter tail in females (TAL TAL < 151.7% SVL in females versus >160.0%), shorter hind limbs (HLL ≤ 65.8% SVL versus >69.0%), and differential gular patterns (mosaic pattern versus no gular spots or single distinct gular spot). Specifically, D. panchi differs from D. fasciatum by the absence of transverse hourglass- shaped pattern on mid-dorsum (versus presence) and presence of dorsolateral stripes (versus absence); from D. batangense, D. iadium, and D. yulongense by differential gular coloration and patterns in females (Light Sulphur Yellow [93], mosaic patterns versus single spot, Pale Cyan [Color 157] in D. batangense, Medium Greenish Yellow [Color 88] in D. iadinum, and Chartreuse [Color 89] in D. yulongense); from D. chapaense, D. micangshanense, D. varcoae, D. yunnanense, and all species from oceanic islands (D. brevipes, D. luei, D. makii, D. polygonatum, and D. swinhonis) by the presence of distinct transverse gular fold (versus absence); from D. swild and D. splendidum by having homogeneous ventral head scales (versus heterogeneous); from D. laeviventre by distinctively keeled ventral scales (versus smooth or feebly keeled); from D. dymondi, D. slowinskii, and D. varcoae by having a concealed tympanum (versus exposed); and from D. vela by differential coloration of dorsolateral stripes in females (Light Sulphur Yellow [Color 93] versus Medium Chrome Orange [Color 75]). For the new species described here, D. panchi differs from all but D. flavilabre by having a much short tail in females (TAL ≤ 151.0% SVL versus ≥174.3%). In addition, D. panchi differs from D. angustelinea by having more conical or sub-pyramidal post-rictal scales (3–7 versus 0–3) and strongly jagged and wide dorsolateral stripes in females (versus feebly jagged and thin); from D. aorun by distinct gular coloration (Light Sulphur Yellow [Color 93], mosaic patterns versus single spot, Pale Cyan [Color 157] to Light Caribbean Blue [Color 163]). For D. flavilabre , D. panchi differs by having a distinct gular pattern and coloration (Light Sulphur Yellow [Color 93], mosaic patterns versus Pale Emerald Green [Color 141] to Light Turquoise Green [Color 146] gular spots) and a distinct lip coloration (Light Flesh Color [Color 250] versus Dark Spectrum Yellow [Color 78]) (Wang et al. 2021).

Color in life: The dorsal surface of the head is mostly uniform Cinnamon-Drab (Color 50), with some unclear Light Buff (Color 2) transverse streaks between orbits. The background coloration of the lateral surfaces of the head is Light Buff (Color 2). Burnt Umber (Color 48) to Dark Neutral Gray (Color 299) radial stripes are present around eyes, whereas the stripe from posterior–inferior corner of the eye to the rictus and the one from posterior–superior corner of the eye to the enlarged conical scale post-supraciliaries are the darkest and longest. Remaining radial stripes that are inferior to the orbit are unclear and faint. The background coloration of the lateral head is Light Buff (Color 2). Light Neutral Gray (Color 297) marble patterns are present on the loreal region of head, giving a dirty appearance. The area of lateral head that are in between and posterior to the two darkest radial stripes and anterior to tympanum are Light Russet Vinaceous (Color 246). Scales coving tympanum are Fawn Color (Color 258). Background coloration of dorsal and lateral surfaces of limbs, body, and tail are Cinnamon-Drab (Color 50). A strongly Jagged, zigzag- shaped, dorsolateral stripe is present on each side of the body from neck to base of tail, with the most anterior one third of dorsolateral stripe faint Light Yellow Ocher (Color 13), and the remaining parts of the stripe Pale Buff (Color 1). The boarding regions along the superior and inferior edge of dorsolateral stripes are Raw Umber (Color 280), particularly in the valleys region of the zigzag dorsolateral stripe along the superior side of the dorsolateral stripe. The dark coloration of each valley along each dorsolateral stripe forms a dark patch, symmetrical to the corresponding one on the other side of the body. Area along the vertebrate between dorsolateral stripes is dirty Salmon Color (Color 58). Randomly scattered enlarged scales on lateral and ventrolateral body are Pale Buff (Color 1). Coloration of lateral body gradually fades and transition into white inferiorly toward ventral body. Faint Pale Buff (Color 1) and Salmon Color (Color 58) transverse streaks are present on the dorsal forelimbs and hind limbs, respectively. A Pale Buff (Color 1), narrow stripe with Raw Umber (Color 280) edges is present from the base of thigh to the knee joint on the posterior ventrolateral side of hind limb on each side. Four Salmon Colored (Color 58) triangular patterns with Raw Umber (Color 280) outlines are present on the dorsal surface from the pelvis to one fifth of the tail from the vent. The remaining parts of the tail are patterned with Drab (Color 19) spots or transverse streaks. The background coloration of the ventral surface of the head is Pale Buff (Color 1). Faint Jet Black (Color 300) vermiculated stripes are present on the ventral head, some of which are interconnected and form a web pattern. Light Sulphur Yellow (Color 93) patches are present in between the faint Jet Black vermiculate stripes, forming a mosaic pattern on the gular. Ventral surfaces of the body and limbs are uniform Pale Buff (Color 1) with no distinct ornamentations, and the ventral hands and feeds, as well as the ventral surface of the distal portion of the tail are pale Tawny Olive (Color 17) (Wang et al. 2021). 
EtymologyThe species name “panchi” is derived from the name of female dragons (Chinese 蟠螭, Pinyin: Pan Chi) in the ancient Chinese literature, 汉书·司马相如传). 
  • 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; 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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