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Echinosaura brachycephala KÖHLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ, 2004

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Higher TaxaGymnophthalmidae (Cercosaurinae), Sauria, Gymnophthalmoidea, Squamata (lizards)
Common Names 
SynonymEchinosaura brachycephala KÖHLER, BÖHME & SCHMITZ 2004
Echinosaura brachycephala — BÖHME 2014: 143
Echinosaura brachycephala — VÁSQUEZ-RESTREPO et al. 2019
Echinosaura brachycephala — YÁNEZ-MUÑOZ et al. 2021 

Type locality: Las Pampas (= San Francisco de las Pampas, 0° 25’ 60’’ S, 78° 58’ 0’’ W, 1275 m elevation)  
TypesHolotype: MHNG 2359.77; Paratypes: ZFMK 46370 - 375, ZFMK 76376, SMF, MHNG. 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Echinosaura brachycephala possesses the following characteristics: (1) snout relatively short and rounded; (2) internasal single; (3) frontonasals paired [rarely with 1–4 small irregular scales between the frontonasals and the frontal (‘prefrontals’)]; (4) frontal single (rarely divided); (5) frontoparietals paired; (6) supraoculars three (third supraocular smaller than first and second); (7) supralabials 3–5 (usually four); (8) infralabials three; (9) postmental reduced or absent; (10) chin shields not differentiated; (11) two paravertebral rows of tubercles or spine-like scales, slightly undulating, separated from each other by 4–6 small, irregular scales; (12) tubercular scales forming oblique lines on lateral surface of body; (13) ventral scales keeled, squared (or are rounded squares); (14) subdigital lamellae on the fourth finger 16–23; (15) subdigital lamellae on the fourth toe 23–32; (16) femoral pores per hind limb in males 7–9, in females 1–2; (17) dorsal and lateral surface of tail with small tubercles scattered along each caudal segment (coded as ‘< pattern’); (18) subcaudals per caudal segment four (when tail is not regenerated); (19) dorsum brown or dark brown, relatively uniform, with some clear spots more or less visible; ventral surface of head and neck light brown with several scales bearing white spots, except on the edges near the mouth where there is a darker ground colour with some transverse cream blotches which extend to labial scales; ventral surface of body (including limbs and tail) mainly light brown spotted with dark brown and cream.
Combination of these characteristics distinguishes Echinosaura brachycephala from its congeners. In addition, the distinctiveness of E. brachycephala and its sister-species, E. horrida, is further corroborated by uncorrected pairwise distances of 18.8% in ND4 and 6.5% in 16S (Table 1, Fig. 2 in VÁSQUEZ-RESTREPO et al. 2019). 
EtymologyNamed after Greek brachy, meaning ‘‘short’’ and the Greek cephal, meaning ‘‘head’’ in reference to the conspicuously short head of this species. 
  • Arteaga AF, Bustamante-Enríquez LM and Guayasamin JM 2013. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Mindo. - get paper here
  • Böhme, Wolfgang 2014. Herpetology in Bonn. Mertensiella 21. vi + 256 pp. - get paper here
  • Köhler, G.; Böhme, W. & Schmitz, A. 2004. A new species of Echinosaura (Squamata: Gymnophthalmidae) from Ecuador. Journal of Herpetology 38 (1): 52-60 - get paper here
  • Torres-Carvajal O, Pazmiño-Otamendi G, Salazar-Valenzuela D. 2019. Reptiles of Ecuador: a resource-rich portal, with a dynamic checklist and photographic guides. Amphibian & Reptile Conservation 13 (1): [General Section]: 209–229 (e178) - get paper here
  • Yánez-Muñoz MH, Torres-Carvajal O, Reyes-Puig JP, Urgiles-Merchán MA, Koch C. 2021. A new and very spiny lizard (Gymnophthalmidae: Echinosaura) from the Andes in northwestern Ecuador. PeerJ 9:e12523 - get paper here
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